Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Dang Fine Water Girl

Yesterday there was a Rugby tournament here in town. Our men's and women's teams played 7's. For the uninitiated, during regular rugby season, ruggers play what is called 15's. In 15's. there are 15 players on each team, and the match lasts for 80 minutes. Each half is 40 minutes. It's a game of strength and endurance with elements of soccer and America Football. Hate to compare it to other sports at all because it really is in a class all its own. But for those who have never played, it helps to have a point of reference.

During the summer months, ruggers play a modified version of the game called 7's (which, by the by, will be included in the next summer Olympics. Yay. I will actually watch the games for once). In 7's there are 7 players on each team, and the whole game is a whopping 15 minutes long. There are 7 minute halves and a 1 minute break between halves. It's a rigorous and exhausting game.

I took my kids with me out to the pitch (that's what a rugby field is called), and we made a day of it.

I didn't play, but I did get to dress out. The coach would have played me. I just wasn't really up to it. Partly fear. Lack of confidence. Partly I wasn't feeling physically well yesterday. So, I didn't play. I ran water. But I sure enjoyed watching our girls play. The game is a blast to watch.

There was a fundraiser afterward. I put in an appearance and ate some BBQ. I didn't stay long. I tend to be incredibly socially awkward. I get so nervous and I feel very alone at things like that. I did VERY much appreciate the one person who went out of her way to talk to me for a bit. It meant a lot to me.

Anyway, the day was a lot of fun overall. I really can't believe more of my friends and family are not obsessed with this sport. Maybe seeing it in the Olympics will open people's eyes to how great this sport really is.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

10 Lessons From My First Rugby Saturday!

So, I recently started a team sport. Me. The woman who hasn't done anything remotely athletic in twenty years. Heck! Twenty-five years. What I did in high school P.E. was hardly athletic. Me. The woman who will be 40 years old in a couple of months. Me. The lazy girl who would rather watch TV and read a book than do just about anything. Me.

What team sport? Not just any old sport. Not a sport where I get even a moment to stop running and rest. Nope. A sport with continuous movement. Soccer? Nope. Too gentle. I chose RUGBY! That's right. A sport so tough it makes football players look like wimps. I grew up playing backyard tackle football with the guys in my family, and even they think I am crazy to take on such a hardcore sport. But the fact is that the sport is super cool. It's fun. And it's an awesome way to meet some pretty rad people.

Well, this weekend I played in my very first game. A month ago I didn't know the rules (still iffy on most of them...OH, and they're LAWS, not rules), had never watched a match, and had no idea what the game is about. Even now, I've only been to four practices. But yesterday morning I rode with a couple of teammates to Memphis, Tennessee to play in my very first match. It was a long, fun, hard, exhausting, discouraging and encouraging day.

Here are 10 lessons I learned from my very first Rugby Saturday!

1.)  Eat breakfast before you go. Once you get to the pitch (that's what the field is called), you may not get a chance to fuel up for a long time. You need the fuel. Otherwise, you won't do your best, and you'll be miserable. And if you are like me and suffer from blood sugar issues, it can be dangerous. I didn't have time to eat breakfast. Thank God I brought a package of peanut butter crackers or I could have been in trouble. When I skip breakfast or go long periods without food, I have a tendency to get sick, and sometimes my vision goes black. It happens to me often, so I have to be careful. The peanut butter crackers kept me from losing my vision, but I did feel weak and heavy. It's not fun to be physical when you are not feeling strong.

2.)  Bring a jacket!!! I don't care if it's July. It gets nippy no matter what time of year it is. I mean, it's MAY for crying out loud, and the whole day yesterday was chilly and windy. I shivered all day long. And I should have brought sweat pants, too. A rainstorm had blown through the night before, so the entire pitch was a mud puddle. It was a cool and breezy day, and we were all soaked within minutes. I didn't want to put my jeans on over my rugby shorts b/c I wanted my jeans dry for the ride home. Would have loved a pair of loose and warm sweat pants.

3.) While you're at it, you might want to bring a few other things. Like camp chairs and blankets. It's not fun to sit on a muddy ground. Bring hand sanitizer!! Seriously. Port-a-potties. Enough said. And for Pete's sake, bring some sunscreen! I am burnt, and it will be a laughable farmer's tan in a day or two. Bring food... you can't go wrong with snacks, and drinks and ice. There were a couple of food trucks there, but I wish I had just brought food.

4.) Be prepared to HURT!! That's right... to hurt and get hurt! Everyone hits the dirt. Not one person will stay on their feet through the match. You will get banged up. You will bang others up (if you are actually playing the game). So, be prepared. This kind of goes with the above post. What to bring. Bring ibuprofen and Exedrin. When someone's skull rocks off the ground, they will need some relief. The team will have a first aid least I am sure there was one. I never asked. But bring the meds in case. And even some sandwich bags might be of can use the ice from your cooler to make an ice pack if someone jacks up an ankle or something. You know, some Deep Heat might be a good idea, too.

5.) People get freaking intense!! Language gets salty out there. People get angry and irritated. There are times when you think some folk are going to throw down. Might want to keep the kiddos (if they come out) back a bit, so they won't hear some of the more colorful outbursts. Hair gets pulled. People get shoved. It happens.

6.)  You can't hit a truck head on. I was anxious to make tackles. I wanted to do well at the game. And down the pitch she charged. A 300 lb girl with a crew cut and a fire in her blue eyes. And, man, did she clean my clock!!! I hit her full on. I think she knocked me back about 5 feet. My coach said she bounced as far as I did, but I don't believe it. But I learned a lesson. Stay low, and try to hit from the side...and wrap. Hug her; bind her; and take her down. Man! My head still hurts a bit. As does my neck, actually. My head hurt pretty awful the rest of the game. Until, they ended up taking me out for my own safety. Had a few vision issues after that. No idea if it was the getting ran over by a truck or the lack of food and low blood sugar, but when your vision is like looking through cracked glass, they won't let you play anymore. I didn't play in the next game at all. Rugby is a contact sport. And you will get bruised and beat up. But it's dangerous and stupid to take unnecessary risks. There are safer ways to tackle and ruck and maul. Use good form and you lessen your chances of getting injured.

7.)  Pretty girls can be monsters, too!!! We have a young woman on our team who looks like she belongs in an issue of Seventeen and/or a Jillian Michaels workout video. She's not only gorgeous, but she's in superior physical shape. She's a quiet girl. Soft-spoken. And the child is ferocious!! Seriously, she's a monster on the pitch. The girl can run like lightening, take out the opponent, roll away and leap to her feet and do it all over again! She can be covered from head to foot in mud, take a boot to the head, get hit so hard she has to wrap her ribs, and STILL play with excellence in two matches. I kept reminding myself that she is far younger than I am and in much better shape, because I feel like a total wuss around her. And also, just because someone is small doesn't mean they can't rock your world. We have another lady on our team who is not big in stature or girth, but the woman is invincible and unstoppable! You have no idea the mettle it takes to play rugby. Not just SAY you play...but to actually get out there and give everything you've got. These two chicks are amazing! And they aren't the only ones. We have a great team.

8.)  Fitness is Key!!!! I am extremely embarrassed and appalled at the awful shape I am in. I can't run for more than a few seconds without wheezing and hurting. I'm slow. I have no endurance. And this sport is the MOST physical thing I have ever done. It takes endurance and strength. I have a lot of work to do to ever feel like I belong on that pitch. I am determined not to give up. Eventually, I'll be what I need to be. But for anyone thinking of doing this...get serious about your health. The sport is a fun way to get in shape and be active, but you NEED to workout between practices and eat clean, or you will never be able to give what you need to be a force on the pitch. And being strong and fast and having great endurance will also lessen your chances of getting hurt.  Weakness is dangerous.

9.)  Know that you WILL get semi-naked in front of a LOT of people.  This is yet another area where fitness is key. Look, ruggers come in all shapes and sizes. But for me personally, if you are going to see me in nothing but compression shorts and a sports bra, I don't want to look as out of shape as I feel. Just saying. Anyway, I don't think a rugger has the option of being self-conscious or shy. This weekend's matches were played on a pitch that was wet and muddy, and there was no where to change. I wore compression shorts and a sports bra under my regular clothes (as did everyone else), so we had to put on our rugby shorts and jersey's there. And there are times when you come out of the game and have to take your jersey off and give it to another rugger. Yesterday was motivation to work on my abs.

10.)  Social skills are a good thing to have. I don't really have them. After a day of beating the soup out of each other, ruggers like to meet up and have a bit of a party. There's food. And beer. If you are like me and don't drink, you better bring a water or something. People are really nice. Two different people (actual strangers and not my team mates...that's a whole different realm of social awkwardness. I can't make decent conversation with them either) tried to talk to me. Just being nice and making conversation. But I think going into some monologue about science studies I've seen in documentaries might actually be boring. Yeah...I need to work on my skills of talking to other people. For someone who talks a lot, I really suck at it.

Bonus: If a drunk dude (or mentally ill...I'm not sure which) just walks up to you on the sidewalks of Memphis and leans in for you to kiss him on the cheek, just do it! Seriously, this happened to me. A guy walked right up to me, smiled and leaned in close for a kiss. On his cheek...otherwise I would have been much more freaked out than I was. I was shocked, and I gave him one of those "Yo, bro" kind of hugs. You know, where you lean in and give a hug where your body never touches and you just pat them on the back three times. I totally did that. But, really, I should have just kissed him. Why not? What the heck!

So, I got my first Rugby Saturday under my belt. It didn't scare me off...Nope. Well, kinda scared, but I'm pressing on anyway.

Remember always, SATURDAY'S A RUGBY DAY!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Find Me I'm really not much of a poet. I don't know jack squat about structure and all that. I only strive to find a way to show and evoke some kind of emotion. It's why I love to write. It's why I love to act. Anyway, here's a little something I wrote.

Hope you enjoy it, but it is what it is.


Find me in the mist.
The light rain and fog and gloom.
Wrap your warmth around me
Hold me tightly, and tell me I’m okay.

Find me in the crowd.
Alone. Surrounded by strangers.
Kiss my cheek. Take my hand.
As the throng dances around us.

Find me on the mountain top.
Standing on the peak.
Take my isolation from me.
Share the view. Keep me company.

Find me in the valley.
Scared and in despair. Needing.
Walk with me. Help me find my way out.
Tell me you’ll never leave.

Find me in the ocean.
Drifting. No. Drowning.
Lift me. Tug me. Save me.
Breathe life into my lungs.

Dear one, just find me.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same.

Around this time last year, I wrote a post titled Getting Friendly about wanting to make new friends. This was before my marriage imploded, before I had to go back to work full time, before the care and well-being of my three children became mine alone with no one to really help me. I just wanted a couple of close friends. A small life outside of family and home. I was determined to try to make new friends.

Well, here I am a year later. Single and almost 40. Working my butt off after being a stay home mom for almost a decade. And still with no freaking idea how to make a friend yet at a place in my life where having friends and connections outside of my home life has become super important for my sanity.

My life has completely changed. And, yet, some things stay the same.

I am grateful that last summer I was able to reconnect with an old friend, and we became close once again. I am very grateful for her. We try to hang out when we can. But she has a family and commitments and other people beside me she has to make time for. So, I don't see her often.

I've come to the painful realization that I just plain SUCK at making friends. I try to understand why. And I probably have a couple of pretty good guesses. For one thing, I probably over too much about myself (out of nervousness and NOT narcissism), and I KNOW I  try way too hard. And for another, I apparently can't take a hint to save my life.

The bottom line is that if someone likes you, they talk to you. They make time for you. If a person is too busy to ever talk to you or see you...guess what? That person is NOT your friend. They are, at best, an acquaintance.

I have hundreds of acquaintances. And there are people I sincerely care for and like.

This is not a "woe is me" post. I only intend to point out how slow going this process much effort it really takes. I think I am not everyone's cup of tea. Not overly likable.

I'm decent and kind. Hardworking and courteous. I'm intelligent and witty. But, still...I have YET to find anywhere that I fit. It's hard to feel like you don't fit in anywhere.

But I'm still trying. I am thinking about finding a social hobby or sport that I can join. A way to be active, have fun, and meet new people.

After all, with divorce comes weekends and weeks where my children will be with Daddy. And I can either stay home in my four walls or try to get out and have some fun and make connections.

It ain't over till it's over, right?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Giving Up

It's incredibly hard for me to give up once I have a notion in my head. I've always been that way. Although I like to joke that persistence should be my middle name, the truth is that I can be downright obsessive. There are good points to this characteristic and horrible points to this characteristic. The honest truth is that there have been so many times when I ignored all the clues that I should give up on something or someone, and I ignored those clues only to end up very very hurt in the end.

This has happened more times than I really care to admit. Whether it was a business idea, a story plot, even relationships...there have been times I pressed on when I should have given up before I got my hopes up too much. I'm just thick...hard-headed...stubborn.

Well, I have GOT to learn when to cut bait.

Today I feel very much like giving up. I don't feel like finishing a drawing, a story, or anything else. Life is probably harder now than it has ever been...not that it's ever been easy or kind to begin with.

I may feel completely different tomorrow...or even later this evening. After all, the old saying that hope floats is just plum true. But at this moment, I feel tired and sad. I know I am probably just having a bad day. It happens. But at this point, I'm kind of sick of trying.

Doesn't anyone else ever feel like you've tried too hard and it's time to stop trying?

Maybe I just need to find another path. I'll pray that God will give me a better vision. Just not sure if writing is for me after all.

Friday, July 6, 2012

How Working with Raw Jalapenos Will Jack Your Stuff Up and Other Lessons Learned in My Kitchen!

So, sometimes I like to cook. Or rather I like to try stuff out and experiment and generally goof off. Sometimes I get bored with the same old stuff I normally make and wonder what would happen if I just threw some junk together. I've also been known to scour sites like for some good ideas or Pinterest. I like to try new things. I just hate to clean up afterward.

Well, this week I have a couple of recipes to talk about. One recipe I made up myself. It's a variation of my Mom's goulash...okay, it's a whole different thing altogether, but the idea came from my mom's goulash. The other two are what happened last night when I tried out two recipes from All of the food turned out awesome. I will include my Mexican Goulash recipe here and the link to the other two well as photos of my endeavors.

First off, the other night I wanted something quick and easy, so I asked my mom about her goulash. It sounded pretty good to me. I had the stuff to make it. So, I gave it a shot. Well, I tweaked it here and there, and this is my finished product. I hope you will try it and like it as much as we did. It will be included in our normal menu rotation from now on.

Lisa's Mexican Goulash
1-2 lbs of Ground Beef (depends on how much meat you like)
Pasta (whatever you want. We used whole wheat Rotini)
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 can of green beans
1 can of corn
oregano, cumin, salt and pepper, season salt, garlic powder, onion powder (or you could use a real onion cooked in with the beef. I used the powder b/c my husband doesn't like onions), chili powder, lemon pepper,  Ranch dip mix
Shredded Cheese
Tortilla chips.

Brown the beef and drain. You can season the meat with salt and pepper if you wish, but don't be heavy handed. While you brown up the beef, place the pasta in boiling water and cook until tender. The time depends on what kind of pasta you choose. After the pasta is cooked (I would make it just a little under cooked as it will continue to cook in the skillet) and the beef is browned, combine the beef, pasta, corn, green beans and tomato sauce into a big, deep skillet. Also, put about half a can of water in each can of tomato sauce to not only add liquid to the food but also to get out the excess sauce from each can. Also, remember to drain the veggies before adding them. Take all of the above seasonings and season to your tastes. Be careful. That's a lot of spices, and if you get too heavy handed it may be too salty or just too spicy. Use your discretion. Simmer all together for about 10 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips and cheese. I prefer shredded cheddar cheese, but the night I made this, I was out. So, we substituted slices of American cheese. We just broke up a slice and put it on top. It melted up beautifully and tasted GREAT!

We loved this dish. My kids really loved it. They love what they call "Mexican Night." My husband added crushed red pepper flakes to his, and you could also add on some jalapenos if you wanted to give it a bit more kick.

Speaking of jalapenos. I found a couple of recipes online that I could not wait to try out. Well, the thing is, I was trying to think of something good to take to a get together next week.  I will be meeting a few new people, and I am honest enough to admit that I want to make a good impression. I just need to bring a snack of some sort or finger food. But I want to take something that I think people will enjoy. I am still not sure what to take, but in my search for ideas I came across two recipes I made for my family last night. One of which, had me working with raw jalapenos. Let me say, before last night I don't think I've ever even touched a raw jalapeno in my life! I won't again with bare hands and will be sure to have lots of ventilation.

The first thing I made were Jalapeno Snacks (find recipe right HERE). Just the photo on had my mouth watering. I told my son, "Everything is better wrapped in bacon." He replied, "I know, right!?!" He's almost 7, and he already knows a good thing when he sees it. I couldn't wait to make these. I got out my ingredients. I washed the peppers and started halving and seeding them. Suddenly, my mouth, throat, and chest started to burn and tickle. I started wheezing and coughing. I was having a scary time trying to breathe. I had NO IDEA those things would do that to me. I actually had to take a couple of hits off my inhaler and switch off with my husband for awhile and let him seed the rest. I took an allergy pill (I had NO clue why this was happening to me), and when my finger touched my lips and tongue, they started to burn. In fact, the little pill also burned my tongue from its contact with my fingers. I had already washed my hands two or three times at this point. That's when I remembered I should have worn gloves. I thanked God in Heaven that I didn't accidentally touch my eyes!

Well, I mixed up the cream cheese filling and cut the bacon slices in half, but when it came time to stuff those peppers, I remembered to put on some gloves. Also, the recipe calls for a broiling pan. I don't own one. So, I improvised the best I could. The tops turned out toasty and good, but the underside was a bit under cooked and greasy. I think next time I will find a better way. These peppers were a huge hit. My family loved them. Well, Ben ate the bacon off of them and left the rest of it, and Shelby scraped out the cheese filling and just ate the bacon and peppers...but everyone ELSE loved them. ;-)

I also made what they call "Farmhouse Barbecue Muffins" (find recipe right HERE). I will make these often!!! Although I do like the BBQ sauce the recipe lays out, I think I'm just lazy enough to use store bought bottled sauce next time I make these. The recipe turned out just a tad sweet for me. It was good though. These are like sloppy joes in a biscuit. With cheese. Everything is better with cheese...or bacon...or both!

The photo above are the BBQ muffins fresh out of the oven. These will become a staple. The Jalapeno Snacks from above will be saved for special occasions as I am too lazy to do those often. Not to mention, they kind of freaked me out with the wheezing and coughing and having to leave the room over and over to get away from them. But, I've been told that either roasting the peppers or soaking them in ice water for a couple of hours will take the heat away and make them easier to work with.

Here's the finished plate! I hope you are inspired to try some new stuff this week. Maybe even one of these recipes!

My plate. Very filling by the way.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Random Crap I Wish

I'm a dreamer. I confess. I've always been the kind to daydream throughout the day or to just have goofy random thoughts. Admit it. You do it too. I believe we all do. So! Here is a list of random crap I find myself wishing. Enjoy...or tolerate...or just move on to a different blog. Whatever.

1.) I wish I was half the rock star I am in my own head.  Come on. You do it, don't ya? Listen to a song on the radio and imagine being the one singing your heart out in front of millions of people. I do. If I could just get over the nerves and let go...I could totally rock out a stadium. Well...I wish.

Riley and her cute little ears.
2.) I wish I had cute little ears like my daughter, Riley. I have a heck of a time getting comfy at night because I swear it feels like my ears are folding when I lay on my pillow. So uncomfortable. Big ears are worse than ugly...they're annoying.

3.) I wish I didn't have to shave my legs or...well, anything else. Guys have it so easy. They just have to shave their faces, and a lot don't even bother with that much maintenance. A woman will shave everything from the neck down (well, depending on what needs it. lol). Or she would if she had my genes. My father could pass for part grizzly bear...or polar now that he's old. And with summer here, you can't hide that stubble under jeans. Shaving sucks, but the alternative is much worse. This girl likes to be smooth and I'll keep the razors. I don't like wax...won't even go there.

4.) I wish I could have J-Lo's body without all the work that J-Lo puts into it. How awesome would it be to have the cut abs, the awesome booty, etc...and still drink soda and eat lots of ice cream? That would be so freaking sweet! However, not gonna happen. So, I will keep trying to get there the hard way...the only way. I probably won't ever get quite there...after all, chocolate donuts are my kryptonite.

5.) Along that same vein, I wish I were darker complected. I would love to be naturally tan. But noooo...I am so English/Irish that I'm also German. Yep. I'm one of the whitest white people you will ever meet. That translates to lots of burns and freckles when I spend time in the sun. I might eventually tan, but the sun damage will be extensive, freckly, and ugly...and dangerous. I prefer to stay away from skin cancer, thank you very much. Guess I'll either stay white or deal with the fake tan...creams, not sprays. Whole different catastrophe there.

Fearless Shelby and not-so-fearless Ben
6.) I wish I was as fearless as my daughter, Shelby Belle. She amazes me. She sings at the top of her lungs. She dances to the tunes in her head. She says what she thinks, and she follows her convictions without regard to what anyone else thinks about them. She's awesome! I wish I were half as awesome as Shelby.

Ben and his beautiful eyes.
7.)I wish I had my son's eyes. Ben has the most beautiful eyes on the planet. Just saying.

8.)  I wish I could star in an action movie but one with lots of emotion, drama, and butt kicking. Yes. I wish I was a super hero, Meryl Streep, and Helen Mirren all rolled into one. Does that mean that I wish I was Hugh Jackman?

9.) I wish I had a condo in the tropics where I could take my family and friends on vacation three or four times a year. Nothing humorous to add. That's just a straight up wish.

10.) I wish I had the metabolism I had at 18, the self-confidence I had at 8, and the wisdom I have now...or rather the wisdom I will have 20 years from now. Yeah, buddy. I would be freaking awesome.

11.) I wish I was a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, friend...woman. Still working on so much. I still have so far to go. But, I am trying to improve and be a person I would be proud to know and love. Trying.

12.) I wish I hadn't gotten so sick on Bryan wienies and cherry Kool-Aid when I was a little kid. I wouldn't eat hot dogs for years after that, and even today I am not a fan of those red hot least not paired with red Kool-Aid. Aren't you glad I shared?

13.) I wish I had pursued that acting career I wanted in my 20's...or at least that I had a few novels written by now. It's all well and good to wish and dream, but at some point you gotta make that crap happen or move on. You know. Fish or cut bait.

14.) I wish a lot of stuff...I wish I didn't wish so stinking much.

I could probably come up with a dozen more silly wishes, but I think this is enough for one day. Now, I'm going to see what other wishes or dreams I can actually make happen. Why don't you think of a few random wishes and share them with your friends or family...make a Facebook note or write your own blog. Just a thought.

Catch ya later!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Within Ourselves

I recently came across this short little poem (I guess it's a poem) I wrote as a teenager. It was just this little thing that I remember jotting down because I was having a moment. One of those woe begone moments people in general (but especially women in their late teens or early 20's) tend to find themselves experiencing.  It got me thinking. Not that that's hard to do. I tend to go off on tangents.

Anyhow, it got me thinking about the subjects of loneliness and isolation. Tennessee Williams spoke of loneliness as an affliction that followed him his entire life. I think that if we are honest we could all admit to that. It's easy to feel lonely. You can feel lonely in a large city or a rural community. There's loneliness in our single life and sometimes (often times) even in marriage. I think it's just the nature of being human that we have seasons of loneliness. I think it can also become a way of life if we are not careful. It can become the very nature of our existence if we close ourselves up and do not allow others to share our journeys.

And isn't that the real problem? Don't we all have that within us? That tendency to stay within ourselves and to shut others out? We don't have time. We are busy. Perhaps we are with other people all the time but feel our voices are silent. Maybe others just wouldn't understand us if we revealed who we really are. Perhaps no one else cares to be a part of our journey. Can't that become a fear also? Whatever the reason, there comes a day or a dark night when our loneliness closes in on us. Even if we are not alone. Even if we have family and friends and a spouse who loves us. We still might open our eyes and realize that we've not really let others in. And time has passed us and we wonder how many missed opportunities lie on the road of our journey where we could have had something sweet or special, but we didn't recognize that moment. We were too focused on our day. We even shut our spouses out at times. Why?

Life goes by fast. We don't have to be lonely. I think opening up and letting others in takes practice and it takes forethought. I think it is a DELIBERATE process of scaling back the "busy" flurry of activity our days can become and making time to know and appreciate others.

I've been guilty. But I am trying to do better.

There's a song by Kathy Mattea (ms?) that states that we are "standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst." She's talking about how we let relationships lapse or we abort them before they are fully developed. And then we suffer with our own isolation.

Just a thought.

Anyway, here's that small little poem. A glimpse into my teen mind...and even to this day I can see where I am yet in this poem. Hmm...


Feeling the weight of my own loneliness.
Crying tears that no one else can see.
Staring through a window at a party
To which I wasn't invited.
Wondering what in the world is wrong with me.
Why do I feel this isolation?
Why does my heart beat out of sync?
Why am I different from those around me?
Like a book that no one cares to read.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Time Travel?

My grandparents, Thelma and George Seigrist
Have you ever wished you could travel through time? I'm sure everyone has. I know I have. There are many, many things I would do. There are MANY things I would love to go back in time and tell the younger me. Advice I would give...maybe a swift kick in the booty over a few things. But, then I start thinking of how my past has shaped who I am and how the steps I've taken on this path have led me to where I am. There are things in my life I want to change, but I would not want to have missed out on my family. I can't imagine taking another breath in this life without my babies. So, even my mistakes have worked for my good because even ONE different decision could have put me on a different that might not have included them. I can't even stand that thought.

So, maybe I wouldn't want to travel in time. Although, I sure would like to spend another day with my precious grandma. I miss her more than I can verbalize. I still can't believe she is gone. I miss her. I miss my sweet Daddy. I miss other precious members of my family who have gone on. So, the chance to spend time with those I love who are gone would make time travel a know...if it were possible.

But beyond traveling in your own lifetime, aren't there places and times you would like to visit? The old west? The Roman empire? What about traveling back to walk with Jesus while He was still on earth? That would be way cool. At least I think so.

Beyond the subject of time travel, I think about time in other ways. Sometimes I wish I had been born in another era. I think I would have made a great contemporary of my Grahm. She was born in 1926, so she was a young woman in the 40's and 50's. I think I would have loved living then. I would have fit in, I think. If I could  have been alive at that time, I think I would have taken a chance and moved to Hollywood. I would have definitely pursued a career in movies back then. How awesome would that have been? I just love the era of big bands and G.I. Joe's. Yes. I have an affinity for the 40's. I love the movies, the music, the romance of the time.

I am also a huge fan of the 50's. Talk about awesome music. Rock and Roll in its infancy. How wonderful! To see Elvis swinging those hips at a live show. To see his movies in a drive-in theater. Dude! That would rock! Who doesn't LOVE the 50's? I submit that those people might be a bit broken inside. Of course, I'm kidding. To each their own. I personally feel a deep and abiding connection to the 1940's and 1950's.

I think about earlier times also. I would have HATED living in any earlier than the 1920's. I would have hated that time era also truthfully. I like certain conveniences. Like pants. Women have really come a very long way over the last century. Even the skirts and dresses of the 30's, 40's, and 50's would have been more comfortable than those heavy suckers people wore before.
My Great-Grandfather, George Seigrist,
and his wife, Nellie (? I think. She wasn't my
ancestor, but I heard she was a lovely woman.)

Well, it doesn't really matter what time era I wish I lived in. I'm stuck here. And, some may argue (with much truth) that this is the most exciting time in human history to be alive. I am grateful for all of the blessings I sometimes take for granted as a member of my generation.

I was born in 1973, so I've got to experience bell bottoms (twice. They came back in the 90's) and 8 tracks. I got to grow up at skating rinks and ride bikes with banana seats. I never had to worry about Polio or many other diseases because I was fortunate enough to be vaccinated.

I grew up with cable and computers and air conditioning! Fast food! The internet!!!!! We have better options when it comes to medicine and health.

I've never had to work in a field picking cotton while my fingers bled like my Grandma did. I've been blessed with education about health care, so that I am better able to take care of myself. There really is so much to be grateful for. We are a spoiled lot really...those of us who are alive now or those who have yet to be born. The technologies we take for granted would be jaw dropping to our ancestors.

Anyway, I'm just rambling a bit. I do think it would have been cool to be able to visit the 40's and 50's and experience so many cultural and historical changes and shifts in society. But there are things I would have hated also. Things that I would not have wanted to live with. Like segregation. I like to think I would have had the courage to stand up and let my voice scream out at the injustice that the minority races in the country experienced. The limited and sometimes seemingly nonexistent rights and privileges of minority people, including women.  But truthfully, I just don't know if I would have or not. I struggle at times even in this day and age with feeling like a coward sometimes. But I like to think I would have done the right thing. I sure hope so.

As a woman, there are a lot of rights I take for granted, and there are certain things I would never put up with from other people. But there was a time when women were marginalized...that still happens today, but not to the extent it used to. Of course, I am talking about what it's like to be an American woman. I fully...and painfully...realize that there are still parts of the world where women and other minorities are still treated as property or subhuman. It happens. It's horrific.

Well, I am a product of my generation. And I guess that's okay.

What about you? Is there another time that you wish you could visit or even live?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Getting Friendly

I've been thinking recently about the subject of friends. How to make them. How to keep them. How to grow and nurture relationships. This is a hard subject for me. I don't make friends easily. I am a pro at making acquaintances. I am fairly outgoing and can chat up anyone. When I was a kid I was told that I'd never met a stranger. I have no fear of public speaking. I can speak to ten or a thousand (not that I've ever had to speak to a thousand people, but I have performed for several hundred at once), and I barely get nervous. That's just how I'm made. Put me in a group of people, and I will talk. Usually too much.

But friends? No. I am not good at the friend thing. I have a handful of people that I consider genuine friends, and yet I am not social with any of them. Not really. I have one especially close friend who is more like a mom to me than a girlfriend. And I rarely do anything social with her either. I guess I just really don't know what I'm doing.

Lately, this has started to irk me. I appreciate that I have a couple of people that I can turn to when I have heavy stuff on my mind, and they will listen, advise, and love on me. But I also know that I'm not a very good friend if the only time we really talk is when I have a problem. That's awful. It's selfish and one-sided. I think we need the social part. We need the gab on the phone ever once in a great while bit or to get together for a movie or lunch and just be girls. We need the laughs and the social interaction to balance out the crying on shoulders stuff. I haven't always done well in this area.

I am not antisocial...exactly...but I'm dang close. Part of it is just the stress and chaos of being married with kids. Not only am I not always available, but most other women I know are just as busy...(if not busier) I am. Part of my problem is that I am a loner at heart. I prefer my own company...until I don't. I like being alone most of the time, but I still need to get out and have some laughs with a good friend sometimes. The balance has been hard...okay, impossible for me to strike.

There's a dang good chance that this tracks back to childhood. As a kid I was self-confident, outgoing, and loved to goof off and play. I made friends super easily. Let's face it. It's just easier for kids to put themselves out there. We see people at school everyday and we have our groups. But as I got older it became harder and harder to connect with others.

First off, it's hard to make friends when you never know how long you are going to live anywhere. In 7th grade I went to Northside Jr. high; moved to Northwood Jr. High; moved back to Northside and then ended up at Cabot Jr. high. Yes, we moved 4 times in one school year! To top it off, I had started that year almost a month into the school year. I missed the school physical for athletics, and my parents didn't have the money to take me to see a doctor on our own to clear me for sports. We also could not afford the high top Nikes that were required for me to play sports at that school. So I was kicked out of athletics and put in P.E. That was a huge blow to me because I had been looking forward to playing basketball for my school.

See, that brings me to my other HUGE issue growing up. I don't just come from a poor family. I come from an impoverished family. As in, we weren't always sure we were going to be able to eat at night and a lot of times we had to stay with family members because my parents couldn't afford to keep us in a home of our own.

The first move we made that year of 7th grade (from Northside to Northwood) was because my folks had been evicted from our home and we had to stay with an Aunt and Uncle in another school district. They weren't just evicted. My Dad had made arrangements with the landlord there for more time, but the guy went back on his word and my parents got arrested for not vacating in the specified time. My sisters and brother and I sat in the police station waiting for my Aunt to pick us up. She took us back to her house, and I fell asleep on her big chair in the living room. That afternoon I woke up with my very first migraine. It was a nightmare.

Needless to say that I NEVER invited people to my home. I tried to keep all the turmoil of my home life away from kids at school. I was embarrassed. It was bad enough that we couldn't afford to dress like other kids, but I sure didn't want them to know that sometimes we didn't get to eat.

I can remember coming back to school after the holiday breaks with dread. People always wanted to know what you got for Christmas. I had a blanket reply of "Oh, this and that." I didn't want anyone to know that there were times we didn't get anything but a $5 sweatshirt. If that. Or that sometimes generous Aunts and Uncles would try to get us something. That kind of stuff is mortifying to kids. It was like that throughout my childhood and teens.

I couldn't go to the mall and hang out like other girls. I didn't have the money to go get a burger or chill at the skating rink. I couldn't go to a movie or the fair. We just never had any money.

So, I got good at keeping people at arms length.

And, 7th grade was not the only year we moved like that. It was commonplace in my world to move several times a year. The worst time for me was 8th grade. It started out awesome. We had moved back to the Sylvan Hills area where I had attended 3 whole years of elementary. I already knew most of the kids there and already had some friends. I loved it there. However, right after the first nine weeks of school we moved to Vilonia (a town about half an hour away). I had to make new friends. As much as I missed Sylvan Hills, Vilonia turned out to be a great move for me. I immediately found a group of girls I fit right in with. There were about 5 of us in all, and we were inseparable. We laughed all the time!!! I even got to go to parties for the first time in my young life.

But my family never stayed in one place for long. Toward the end of the year we moved again. There was only a few weeks of school left, and we moved to a town in North Little Rock. It was a new school. I was a stranger. And I was angry.

I gave up. I decided it wasn't worth the effort to try to make real friends, so I didn't even try. In fact, it would be years before I ever really tried again. By the time I decided I really wanted to have some REAL friends and not just people I was friendly to in the halls at school or was too late. I just wasn't any good at it anymore.

Lately, I've really started to feel this void in my life. I think it would be nice to have one or two female friends that I could hang out with ever once in awhile. Someone to see chick flicks with...or any movie for that matter. Someone to hit the gym with or go to a museum. At the same time, I really want to find a friend or two who I have things in common with. Things like art, theater, and books. It would be kind of neat to have a friend who was actually into the same things as me. At least some of the same things.

So, I've been thinking about the subject of friends. How to make a friend. How to keep a friend. I would like to meet new people or just get to know some people better than I currently do.

It's a scary thing. No one can really know what it costs me to even try to strike up a friendship. It takes courage for me to ask someone if they want to hang out sometime. There's fear of being rejected. There's fear that someone doesn't really like me much and I'm putting them on the spot. I would hate to make anyone uncomfortable.

So, this is new territory for me. I'm trying to find activities outside of my home where I might meet someone that could be a potential friend. At the same time, I don't want to appear desperate or pathetic. Like I said, I'm a loner by nature, so I am a bit socially awkward. And I know that I would not expect anyone to just be available any ole time. I'm not. I'm busy and tied down sometimes also. But I also recognize that if I want to make a friend, I am going to have to put myself out there, make myself available, and be willing to even inconvenience myself sometimes.

I think in the end it will be well worth it.