Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's Just A (expletive deleted) Blog, People

Today I read an interesting article, about OSU (Oklahoma State, people... OSU doesn't always mean Ohio) coach Mike Gundy. It seems that he hired Brent Loveland, a contractor, to do some work on his house. Unfortunately the poor man showed up in an OU (again, think Oklahoma University, not Ohio) shirt to work. This... made Mr Gundy mad. Believe it or not, this is not the real point of this blog. I'm not starting a debate here about whether Mr Gundy is too uptight and needs to get a sense of humor about his rival (altho I totally think he should) or how completely stupid it is for a paid employee to wear something he knows will hack off his boss (said the girl who's worn Michigan flip-flops into the Buckeye Hall of Fame restaurant.) No, this blog is about cussing.

I'm not going to sit here and pretend I don't cuss. One, you wouldn't believe me. Two, it's not true. Three, oh, #$%^ what was I going to say for three? ; ) Sorry, I couldn't resist that one. As it turns out, tho, that's kind of my point. Why do they refrain from printing the swear words in articles? I mean, I *know* why they do - they're offensive. They're "not allowed" to write those words in the printed media. Fine. Don't print them. I tell you what tho, just because they haven't been printed doesn't mean reading the article won't make us *think* them. Watch:

The article quoted Mike Gundy as he voiced his disapproval regarding his contractor's wardrobe choice. He started out with a tame "How dare you come into my house and offend my wife?" When Mr Loveland didn't know what he was talking about, Mr Gundy said "That (expletive) shirt you have on." Mr Loveland, according to himself, didn't even think about his shirt as he had apparently gotten dressed in the dark. (REALLLLLY? We're supposed to believe that? Ooops, wait... that's not the point here. I digress.) Mr Gundy then proceeded to say “what a lowlife he was, telling him to ‘pack his (expletive) stuff and get off his (expletive) property.” Hmmm. Those direct quotes get a girl to thinking.

I don't think I'm that unusual of a person, I kind of see myself as Missy the Everyperson. Not everyone is going to agree with me, but there are some things I think I see the same way as alot of people. Things like stubbing your toe. Stubbing your toe hurts, and I'm against it. Feel free to disagree if you'd like, but I bet I'll get a solid majority voting my way on that one. Or air. I totally think everyone is entitled to have as much air as they need every day, regardless of how much air they may have used the day previous. I'm kinda generous when it comes to air. Pro air, definitely in favor of air. See? I'm Everyperson, just like you. That being said, when I read Mr Gundy's quote, I was compelled to fill in the blanks and I bet you were too. My internal dialog went something like this:

" 'That (expletive) shirt you have on.' Hmmmm, well, the placement of the (expletive) lends itself towards an adjective. I bet the bleeped word is... tangerine. Wait, no - it can't be that. OSU's colors are black and orange, so why would they delete the word tangerine. That BIG shirt you have on. Maybe it was so big you could see right into the sleeves and all his man hair was offensive to Gundy's wife. No, that's silly. You can write 'big' however or wherever you want, even in all caps. It must have been a... dirty word. That's it! They deleted a dirty word. What could it be? 'That damn shirt you have on.' That makes sense! I bet it's damn. But... people say damn on TV all the time. They write it alot. Dammit. It can't be damn. Hmmmm.... shitty? Maybe he said 'That shitty shirt you have on.' Well, that sounds just stupid. I mean really. If Mike Gundy can't swear better than that what is he worth. What would sound really, really powerful coming out of his mouth that would REALLY make it clear just how upset he was with this guy's wardrobe. O.M.G. He said fucking. He said fucking!!! 'That fucking shirt you have on'! THAT'S IT!!!" I won't bore you with the rest of the internal dialog, but suffice it to say me and my dirty word brain decided that Mr Gundy needs to bone up on some more creative cusswords. I'm like *pretty* sure he totally overused the same words.

Anyway, the point of this blog: Let's think about it for a second. The writer of the article (or writers of the articles, since this was covered pretty well in the press) fulfilled his journalistic duty by not printing the offending words. It seems to me, he's following the letter of the law... but not the spirit of the law. If the idea is to protect my fragile eyes (ears) from such foul language, he failed miserably. Honestly, it would have been better to just see the one swear word, rather than have me think the many, many swear words I tried to make fit. I was Goldilocks, tripping through the Swear Word Lexicon, searching for the just right cuss word to make sense of Mike Gundy's rant. Truth be told, I even said some swear words multiple times while testing it out to see if it really did fit. The whole experience was not unlike trying on a new pair of shoes. Do you slip on the shoe and take one step to see if it feels good? No! You march up and down the aisle and stop at the mirror turning this way and that to make sure you have the right shoe. Just like I did with the Mike Gundy Cuss Words.

So, I guess that's it. I just find it funny that in an effort to keep me from reading profanity, the writers end up making me think way more swear words than I would have if they had just kept it simple. Something easy like "That (insert f-bomb here) shirt you have on," or "That (rhymes with shucking) shirt you have on," or my favorite "That uckingfa shirt you have on." Come on, writers is it really so forking tough to find other ways to get the story out? I thought not. Commence to getting creative, and for the love of Pete, get a (bleeping) thesaurus, wouldja?

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Have The Cleanest Bathroom In Ohio

'Nother repost - needed to show this to a friend, so I'm posting it again:

May 2005

Current mood: crappy

And to those of you who think "OH, she's sooooo luckeeee" (because I am, you know, she said nodding solemnly) let me just tell you how it got that way.

I have a friend who is also a single mom, and two of her kids come home from school with me every day because the kids get along well with my kids and I'm free, which is in her price range. It's not a big deal, they're good kids, and having someone to play with who you aren't related to seems to work well with my kids.

Today was a short day, meaning that the kids' dad picks them up early, so I only have my five after about 4 in the afternoon. Easy afternoon. The kids get picked up, Maddie's sleeping, everything's awesome... so I work on painting the livingroom some more. Great. The planets have lined up and everything is cool.

The boys are playing outside and Max comes in to use the bathroom. "Mooooom.... the potty is spilling!" ***GASP*** "It's OVERFLOWING?!?!?!?" as I run to the bathroom grabbing towels. No, I'm informed, it's just full. Sure enough, that damn potty was full. Freak. Well, it's OK, I'll just flush it. Only -- oh, wait.... that was a bad idea. Turns out that one of the other kids had stopped up the potty and not told me.

Now I know what you're thinking, "Sure, blame it on the kids who aren't yours, because yours are per-fect." Well, I'm the last one to say my kids are perfect, because they aren't, but I know they didn't flush and overfill the potty. How do I know this? Simple. They don't flush. Like, ever. EVER. And if it were a situation where they had used too much toilet paper? They would get me. For some reason, this girl won't tell me things I genuinely need to know... like "I used too much toilet paper." UGH And she was in there for 30 out of the 45 minutes she was here. Crap.

SO, I have this bathroom.... which I will abstain from descibing, but there's a subtle clue in the last word in the above paragraph. It's OK, I'll wait right here while you look again.......

Yeah, now you know. By this time, Maddie's awake and wanting to help. I decided that the very best kind of help she could offer me right now is to watch "A Bug's Life." As I walk into the livingroom to start said movie, I just got kinda frustrated with the whole thing (admittedly, this is when I like to think being a single parent sucks, but realistically, having a husband around wouldn't have changed anything today, LOL) and said, "Fuck, fuck, fuck." You have to know, I don't use that word very often, but it just seemed.... appropriate, you know? Appropriate, that is, till my little 2 1/2 year old magpie walking behind me echoed "Fawk, fawk, fawk" in her angelic voice. GREAT. Not only am I stopped in the middle of a paint job to clean up some other kids crap off my bathroom floor, now I have just taught my daughter to cuss. Excellent. Just call me an over achiever... or a multi-tasker...

And that's the story of Missy and how she got the cleanest bathroom in Ohio. Or Missy, and how she started her diet early this weekend. Or Missy, and why she LOVES bleach. Whatever you decide to call it, now I need a Long Island Iced Tea, a good long run on the dance floor, and a babysitter. Not neccessarily in that order, for those of you taking notes. And tell that babysitter, the bathroom is FABULOUS.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Maddie's Comfort

Every so often I will repost old blogs here for... no particular reason. Today's repost is from March of 2006 and is one of my all time favorites, because you're allowed to have a favorite blog. Favorite child? Notsomuch. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. : )

Current mood:nurturing

I had an epiphany this last Christmas, about singing. I love to sing, and I can carry a tune well enough... not that anyone will ever hear me. I'm what you call a shy singer, meaning no one gets the performance except the van, the shower, the large group of people singing all at once; you get the drift. I was in choir in school, took singing lessons and have even been in a church choir or two - I really, really enjoy it. With all that experience, I'm fairly well grounded in what kind of voice I have. I'm a soprano, and when necessary, can do a mean imitation of a second soprano. First and foremost, tho, I'm a soprano. Yes, even for Handel's Messiah. Missy = soprano.

So it was with a certain amount of surprise that I realized I was singing alto this winter when I sang Christmas carols. How, in all my years of singing soprano, would I slip into an alto? Then, in a flash, my epiphany. I remembered snuggling with my mother, my head on her chest, absorbing the comfort of her alto voice resonating in her chest. It became clear to me that that was where I had learned the Christmas carols, nestled in my mother's arms as a child, and I echoed her voice, rather than my own.

That echoing of our parents' voices is something that happens to all parents at one time or another, I'd imagine. Ask anyone who has a child over the age of five, and it's a good bet that the words "I sounded just like my mother (or father) just then.... I swore I'd never say that!" have been uttered at some point. It was nice to have it be such a positive memory, a connection even, to sound like my mother.

This afternoon I was comforting my Maddie. She's sick today, listless and glassy-eyed. It seems a temperature of 103 has a way of making the most energetic little three year old girl stop in her tracks, and Maddie is no exception. Also like most three year olds, she sought comfort in her mother's arms. With her head nestled against my chest, I sang to my newest musical craving, Joshua Radin's album "We Were Here." The song I just can't get enough of, "Winter" came on, and I started singing the harmony along with it. I hit the repeat button on my stereo's remote to hear it just one more time. Suddenly, I wasn't able to sing for a bit, my heart in my throat. It was at that point that I noticed a soft, sweet voice rising from the little girl in my arms... singing harmony, just like her momma.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Red Clock

Funny thing about epiphanies - they happen when you least expect them. My most recent one was here, on vacation in Chicago. We have rented an apartment for the week, and it’s amazing. The three bedroom, two and a half bathroom apartment has a fabulous view of downtown and the lake and is right next to Grant Park. We’re in walking distance to...well, everything! The decorations are minimalist and refreshing, speaking as someone who has been living in a much-too-small-home for the last couple years. By minimalist, I mean... there’s really nothing. In the master bedroom, there are two framed pieces of woven bamboo and one red clock.

The night we arrived, I noticed that the time was off on the clock in my room. I took it down, set it to the right time (3 am) and hung it back up. I figured the next morning I would know if I had fixed it or if it was just needing a new battery.

The next day Max said something about not knowing what time it was since the clock in my room said it was 3. I told him it was a dead battery and not to worry about it. Then a funny thing happened... I realized I heard the tick, tick, tick of the clock on the wall. Weird. Upon further examination, I realized it wasn’t a dead battery, it was a stuck clock.

The second hand just keeps going... and getting nowhere. Nowhere! From the sound of it, the clock is functioning just fine. Look at the clock for a moment and you think it’s in working order. A casual glance won’t really tell you that the clock is not fine. Not fine. Not in working order. Working on the surface, but a mess inside. Spinning in it’s tracks.

The red clock is stuck in time. Then, the epiphany...stuck in time... just like me. This is the place I have found myself in for the last few months. Time’s gone on, things have changed, and as the weeks and months have passed I feel like nothing.has.changed. Without getting into the personal details too much, I’ve been waiting for time to heal the pain... for the passing of time to magically take me to a place of peace and acceptance... to finally be in a place where I don’t live in the what ifs and the regrets of things said or not said - constantly wondering about what might have been. I’m a stuck clock.

Let me tell you, it hasn’t been fun at all. I haven’t been “happy.” I haven’t been “ok.” In Alison Krauss’ song “Paper Airplane” she sings a line that makes so much sense to me: “How many days should I smile with a frown?” How long do I have to hide the sadness, the discontent, the longing that’s been in my heart? How long do I have to wait...

I have spent so much of the last seven years of my life waiting. Waiting for the divorce to be final. Waiting for the court stuff to be over. Waiting for the next job. Waiting for the right guy to come in to my life. Waiting...waiting...waiting. The whole time, I’ve been wanting things - wanting to move, wanting to start my writing full-force, wanting to do what I want to do. At the end of the day, I’ve come to a place of feeling horribly, terribly, painfully... trapped. Please don’t read this and think “She’s a terrible mom - she wishes she didn’t have her kids.” That’s not the case at all, my kids are my life. That being said, I’m tired of everything in my life being dictated by the restrictions placed on me because I have kids. I’ve come to understand that part of being a good mom is showing my kids what it takes to be a happy, healthy adult. There’s a fine line between doing something selfish and doing something that’s better for everyone, whether they know it at the time or not.

I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t know what changes will be necessary to unstick my clock. What I do know, what I have to know... is it will happen. It might be a small change, it might be a big one. Whatever it is, you can rest assured I’ll be sharing it here... and if you miss the blog, just listen for the tick, tick, tick coming from my unstuck heart.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

There's An App For That!

I have a confession. The first time I was introduced to the idea of "apps" I didn't really *get* them. My first boyfriend to have an iPhone was someone who in the interest of anonymity I’ll call “The Macedonian.” I know, I know - some of you know exactly who I’m talking about, but still. ANYWAY..., he would sit in my living room either waiting for me to get ready or just killing time and he was always plucking away at his iPhone. At the time I thought he was replying to work emails or doing something terribly important. I was so relieved that he had access to these Terribly Important Things even when he was stuck at my house... I was thankful that he remained unburdened by the limitations of not having access to his computer. As time went on and I saw more people with their iPhones I was again struck by all these Terribly Important Things people were accomplishing while in the doctor’s waiting room or in line at the bank or waiting in the airport terminal. Where would these poor people be without their iPhones.... Can you imagine all the Terribly Important Stuff they'd be missing?!?! Oh, the horror of it all. As I watched these people over the years I was glad they had access to their Terribly Important Stuff, but I started to realize I was filled with another emotion... I was filled with a need to 'Tis true, dear reader... I coveted that iPhone and longed for the day that I would have one of my own. I mean really, how may Terribly Important Things was *I* missing because of my stupid 'ole Rogue phone? (that's right... I went Rogue before I went iPhone- don't blame me, blame Verizon!!!). Anyway, I was a wishin' and a hopin' for the day when the world would be right and I would have an iPhone.

That day came my friend... February 3rd... I set my alarm, woke up early and pre-ordered my iPhone. Read that again, did you see what it said? MY iPhone! Oh, yeah... That happened. I was one of the lucky ones to get the limited quantity of iPhones available for presale. Even tho they weren't officially for sale till Feb 10th I had that bad boy in my hot little hand,

activated and ready for business at 2:40 pm on Feb 7. I have to say, I felt superior. Wildly superior, truth be told. Wildly superior until just after 3 pm when I picked Ben up from school and showed him my P & J (come on, you know... Pride and Joy!!!). “Cool, Mom!!! What apps do you have?!?!?!” My first reaction was of the defensive variety. “Ummm... I’ve had it twenty minutes.... I haven’t really had *time* to get any apps,” with a tone of voice that hinged on condescending... as if I would have had LOTS of apps had I had just the teeniest bit more time. In all honesty, the second reaction I had was “Holy cow. I don’t know anything about apps. I have an iPhone and I don’t know anything about apps.” I was... an iPhone moron.

It’s not like I didn’t know what apps *were*... I mean, I knew they existed, but my knowledge of them was akin to nuclear power or physics or how to make bread that rises on it’s own (I have never really gotten that whole “yeast” and “punching down” thing)... I know they’re out there, I know someone on the planet has to understand them... and as it turns out, I’m not that person. My knowledge was limited to the recognition that the phrase “There’s an app for that!” is the Apple community’s equivalent of “That’s what she said!” It works in many conversations, you don’t have to necessarily *get* the joke to say it, and it always, always gets a big laugh. It made me look like when I was in the know when I was so just... not. And there I was... an iPhone owner lost in a sea of apps.

Thank God I have children. I’m sure this is not a new concept to my parent friends out there, but to those who have not yet procreated, lemme ‘splain. Kids today... understand everything. We have to pull out the manual, skim through it, not understand it, google about it, kick it and then we accidentally push some right button to get whatever our new technologically advanced state-of-the-art blah-blah thing is to turn on. Or change channels. Or record. Or...well, you get the picture. It’s tough. Kids? Nope - they pull the paci out of their mouth, stretch for the new jazzy thing that we don’t know how to use, and as the words “Don’t touch that!!!” are falling from our lips... they have jumpstarted the thing. It’s true... I’ve seen it happen... I swear! So.... anyway, thank God for my kids. My kids really got me introduced to some cool apps. Other friends did, too, but the ones my kids have shown me have been life. changing. For reals.

Without my kids I wouldn’t know about...wait, are you ready? Because once I show you this information, I can’t un-show you... so...make sure you’re ready before you read this. Without my kids I wouldn’t know about the NinJump app. It’s hard to explain, but let me show you:

Now, that’s not my video, because my high score is way better ; ) but... you see how the game involves slicing and jumping and bouncing back in forth in a big blue ball of invincibility?!?!? It’s... amazing. So now, when I’m stuck in line at the bank, or waiting too long at the dentist’s or my hairdresser is behind... no worries! There’s bluebirds to whack. I’ve got lots of things to do with my previously wasted time. Lots. And then, one day it occurred to me... people think I’m doing Terribly Important Things! And I am!!!! I’m honing my ninja skills! I’m getting higher and higher scores and exercising my index finger like no one’s business. Seriously. It has also opened my eyes as to all those Terribly Important Things other people were doing... things like The Angry Birds or Farmville... or... NinJump. I see the world through new eyes, and I fully appreciate it. Some may think the world is their oyster, but I now know the truth... it’s an app. Not everyone will understand that, but trust me... one day you will understand. One day, you will understand. And if you don’t? Well... there’s an app for that. (Come on, you had to see that one coming.) ; )

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Music, The Best Distraction

I don't have anything earth shattering to share today. It's cold. It's rainy. It's windy. It's April. :::shrug::: I'm uninspired. There are a few things from the music world I'm kind of obsessing about right now, so I will share.

  • The new Death Cab For Cutie cd, Codes And Keys, is coming out soon, soon, soon!!! They did this amazing thing - they filmed the video for their single "You Are A Tourist" in a live, single take. It was scripted and had multiple cameras, and they streamed the taping of it live as they filmed. It was tres cool to watch while they made history, and I love, love, love the song.

  • I'm also loving me some Laura Jansen. She opened for Joshua Radin when I saw him in Indianapolis in February, and she's amazeballs. Her cd, Bells, was released March 22, and it's one of those I-don't-have-to-skip-a-single-song albums. (That's right, I said album. Shoot me.) It's also one of those I-only-sing-along-when-I'm-alone jobs, because... well, just because. Here's one of her videos:

  • To say I'm obsessed with itunes is, frankly, a stretch. I mean, it's been around long enough that the novelty is kinda gone... right? WRONG! They just keep making things easier, better, more fabulous for us. Remember hearing that your favorite artist had a new cd being released and you had to run out to the store to pick it up the day it was released before they sold out? ...or is that just me? Anyway, no worries and no waiting... itunes has this pre-sale feature. In all likelihood they've had it for a good long while and I've just ignored it. That's beside the point. The important thing is that's how I got Laura Jansen's new one, will get Death Cab's new one, and just got Paul Simon's new one. (Did you know he has a new album? I'm saving it for work, since my job is so friggin boring that it makes me want to... well, shoot myself in the face is drastic... let's just say I'm eagerly anticipating the tax season being over so my job is done.) All that to say, I'll let you know about Mr Simon's latest venture when I hear it.) The other cool thing about the presale feature is you get some of the songs before the release date... Death Cab is giving me about four, I think, over the course of several weeks. Awesome.

  • While we're on the topic of itunes, one of my complaints is when one of my cds comes up as "Track 1, Track 2, Track 3, Track OMG how do I not have the title of the song, Track 5..." I have spent many an hour listening to a song, trying to snag a phrase or sentence out of it and then googleing the line with the word "lyrics" so I could find out the title of the song and sometimes even the artist. It was slow, it was frustrating and it was time consuming. It was such a commitment that the last time I had to reload my music (with four new computers over time and a couple viruses, it wasn't a one-time event) I skipped alot of my music and only uploaded those that have the names. Then along came the Shazam app.

I'm telling you, those of you without apps are missing out. I was in denial for a long time, thinking I wasn't missing what I hadn't been exposed to, but this has changed my life. Don't think "Oh, Missy... you're being so dramatic. It hasn't 'changed your life.'" Oh, but it has, dear reader, it has. It a nutshell, you play a little bit of the song and Shazam tells you the artist, title, album it's on, as well as other information. If you're listening to the radio or it's just a song you don't own, you can get it from itunes It's not a new app, since it's been around since 2002, but it's fantastic. Thanks to Shazam, my itunes is looking all organized and shiny... and it makes me very, very happy.

Well, I guess that does it for today. I'm off to work to try and distract the boringness of the experience with the wonderful tunes awaiting me on my ipod.

Happy listening, everyone!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Not everyone will understand this...

This is a repost of a note I wrote on Facebook last August. Since it's one of my favorites and some of my friends hadn't read it, I'm putting it on here so it's easier to access.

...and to those who don't, that's OK. I'm sharing anyway, because I think it's just pretty amazing.

Back in the day when I was living in Oklahoma, tattoos were pretty much illegal. Ok, ok, let me clarify: Tattoos = not illegal. Tattoo parlors where you get tattoos = illegal. You could have one, you just had to go to across state lines to get it done. Now, I'm not really spontaneous when it comes to actions that have permanent repercussions. Seriously, it took me years to decide to get a perm (still have only had two) and color my hair... those are reversible and relatively temporary. I did get divorced, but it was with much literal gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair... I went down with a fight, in as many words. All that to say, the concept of having a tattoo wasn't something that was at the forefront of my mind for quite some time.

One day, however, Jameson's friend Laith's mom showed me her tattoo she had gotten the weekend before when she was on a trip to Texas. It was a little turtle, altho I can't remember where it was in the ten years since I saw it last. It wasn't a cartoony kind of turtle, but one that paid homage to her South American roots. I didn't covet that tattoo, but I understood it. For the first time, I gave some real consideration to having a tattoo myself. My thoughts, however, were not terribly serious given the complexity of getting a tattoo. At the time, I was a single mom to four boys ages newborn to six... that doesn't afford one much of an opportunity to cross state lines and get inked. ( I know, I know - I was surprised by that too!)

Time passed, a marriage was patched back up, a pregnancy was discovered (hellooooo Maddie!) and a move was made to a new state, Ohio. Here in the land of lawful tattoo parlors, the act of getting a tattoo became less of a hypothetical situation and more of a realistic possibility. I didn't make plans for it, but it was always in the back of my mind. My answer to the "Do you have any tattoos?" question turned from "No, I don't" to "No, I don't, but I can definitely see myself getting one."

More time passed, a baby was born, a marriage was ending, and I found myself a single parent to five children ages 1 year to 8 years of age and with even less time and fewer resources to indulge in something like a tattoo. In that same time, however, I entered a time of self discovery and examination, and I realized I definitely wanted one. For me. I spent some time looking at designs and coming up with something that I thought I could live with the rest of my life, and found a cute Celtic knot. I wanted it to be about the size of a quarter and took it into a tattoo artist for an opinion. In his opinion, I wouldn't get what I was looking for with that size and design, since the lines would bleed together. I had a mental shrug of the shoulders and moved on to other aspects of well, moving on. The urge to get tattooed didn't really go away, however.

I found "myself" as they say, as time passed and milestones were achieved and I became more independent as a woman and mother, and realized I really, really wanted one. It was, to me, a symbol of I have been a wife and mother and given all that requires for so very long, and I wanted to do this one thing for just me. The conversations about the haves and the have nots with tattoos found me squarely on the side of wishing I had one. I still searched for something I would love, something I would never regret and something I would never tire of seeing on a daily basis. I had yet to find the *just right* design, but I saw that as just another sign that it wasn't the right time.

Then came Groupon. This spring they featured a Groupon for Evolved, a well known and very established tattoo parlor here in Columbus. I bought my Groupon and got excited knowing that I was that much closer to fulfilling a desire I'd had for the last ten years. I went in with a friend who'd bought the same deal, and we consulted with one of the artists. She didn't have time for us that day, but I made an appointment for six weeks later, when she was going to be back in town. I walked out that day ink-free and a little bummed, but glad to have some more time to find exactly what I was looking for in a design.

Remember late starts or those days when you don't have to be at work until later than your normal starting time? You know how you fool yourself into thinking you have SO much extra time that you don't have to pay attention until you realize you have piddled away ALLL your extra time and you are now running extreeeeeemly late and you are flying around like a chicken with your head cut off? Yeah, that would be me the day before my appointment, desperately googling images to find the just right design for my tattoo. I walked in to my appointment with nary a picture nor design to hand to my artist to embed into my skin. Forever. Nadda. Nothing. Could not have been less prepared if I had tried. Seriously.

I scanned the notebooks of artwork examples trying to find something that I thought would work, and found next to nothing I liked for *me*. I met with Anna, my tattoo artist, and described what I was kind of picturing, even though, admittedly, I was terribly vague. I showed her a vine I liked, and a flower that was sort of what I was wanting and she said "OK, I'll be right back." She came out with a sketch that I LOVED. It was exactly what I wanted, even though I hadn't been able to verbalize it. I gave her my approval, she finished off some minor detailing, I got inked, and voila... Missy has a tattoo.

The day I got my tattoo was Cinco de Mayo, which some of you will understand the significance of for me... I've been so incredibly happy with it. It's my tattoo, for me, in a place where few will ever see it, but is accessible to whoever wants to. I love it. I haven't regretted it for one second, and am completely, utterly thrilled with it. That being said, not everyone has the same opinion of tattoos, and I understand that. For that very reason, the picture I posted of my tattoo wasn't visible to everyone, and I didn't have any status updates or anything about getting it. Not everyone "gets" getting tattoos, and I am fine with that. Why a blog about it, then? Ahhhh, good question little grasshopper.

This past week I met some of my boyfriend's family, including his sister. She has a visible tattoo, which started a conversation for us about them and resulted in me showing her mine. "What flower is that?" she asked, and I had to say I wasn't sure... I thought it was a hibiscus. It met with her approval then, and a couple days later she said she was thinking about getting a new tattoo and asked if I would be ok with her getting the same one I have. I told her I would be thrilled by that, and sent her a picture of it. I got this message from her today:

" Did you know your tattoo is a lotus flower?
I just looked it up and the meaning...they stand for people who have come through alot of yuck and are blooming...the lotus starts at the bottom of a pond in the mud and grows toward the sun and then blooms ..."

OK, like... wow. How appropriate is that for me? How amazing is it that the flower I have permanently decorating my person is the very embodiment and meaning of what I wanted it to represent? It could not have been more perfect if I had tried, and I am amazed. I have been in such a holding pattern for the last seven years with my ex, and have been relying on and waiting on God to get me through the garbage that I've been through and to the light at the end of the tunnel. I see this as one small (yet permanent, have I mentioned that?) example of God being in control of every little thing, even something like this. I hope none of you are offended that I would see God being in control of a tattoo... because my God is in control of everything from things you and I agree on AND things we don't. He knew what this would mean to me, and I believe He used it in the way He knew would speak to me best. My tattoo meant one thing to me initially, and now it means even more. Because of that, I share it with you.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

You Too

Thursday’s blog made me think about how we treat each other, and I wondered how well I practice what I preached to Maddie. I reflected on the fact that we live in a “me first” society...and wondered what it would be like to live in a “you too” society. I decided to make Friday my “You Too Friday.”

The morning routine of getting the kids off too school didn’t afford many opportunities to put others first in a way that was different that any other day... I’m pretty much invisible, with no agenda or life of my own, or wants or needs... until it’s time to leave the house and the kids want a ride. I absolutely, positively live in a non-voluntary You Too world until 8:20 when the last child is safely deposited at school.

As I continued with my morning, there were few opportunities to put others first since I didn’t have any interaction with other humans. There was one situation that I had been debating for a couple days... I wasn’t sure what to do, and had received advice that was the opposite of what I wanted to do. I used my You Too day as an opportunity to follow my heart rather than the advice I was given. I’m not sure how all that’s going to play out, so I’m sure it’s fodder for another blog. (Oooooh, look... her second blog and she’s already got a cliff hanger. How nervy.)

I ran a couple errands before going to work, and had my first stranger You Too moment when I let another woman walk into Subway before me. It wasn’t such a stretch for me to do something like that, but I was in a hurry to get to work... so I might not have done that on a regular day. She gave me a big smile and said “Thanks!” so I had that going for me. As I drove to work on the highway, I made a conscious decision to let people over when they needed it and was altogether considerate and didn’t even act like a I was good.

I pulled into the parking lot and took the first (read: farthest away from the door) parking space, leaving the closer ones to the poor unfortunate souls who were even later than me. The whole “holding the door open for people and letting them go first” bit is tricky when you work for the state, turns out. You have to swipe your badge to get into the building and then swipe it with every door you go through, save the restroom. I gave myself a You Too pass and an A for effort.

On my way home, the You Too drive home was similar to the drive to work, and nothing noteworthy happened. And.... nothing really noteworthy happened at home. Or later. I made a concentrated effort to have a You Too day and all that happened was I was late to work. I came away from my You Too day with a couple lessons:

  • If you are going to have a You Too day, give yourself some wiggle room with regard to your schedule. It took time to let people first, to park farther away, etc... and I wouldn’t have been late to work had I planned a wee bit better.

  • My interpretation of a You Too moment and your interpretation When we were listening to a cover band last night, the lead singer kept asking for song requests. The guy sitting next to us, a stranger to me, would shout out “Bare Naked Ladies” and got no response. I offered the suggestion that he might tell them a song, rather than a band, so he said “Brian Wilson’s Song!” Unfortunately, the singer didn’t hear him, so at the break I went up and told her. I also let her know what we had just found out, that it was this couple’s 5th wedding anniversary. After the break, they got a shout out for their anniversary and the song they wanted to hear. Was that a You Too moment for me? Nope, that was Just Missy. However, it might have been a You Too moment for the couple, and that’s cool.

  • You can’t decide to have a You Too day, you have to have a You Too life and take advantage of the opportunities when they fall in your lap... they don’t come around as often as you think they do.

So that’s my You Too day. Not as interesting as I had hoped it would be, but definitely was worth trying. I’ll keep it up and maybe, hopefully someday I’ll have a stellar You Too day.

You too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Love A Teachable Moment (Or The Blog That Started This Blog)

Yesterday I received an email from Maddie's teacher letting me know Maddie had been fragile, crying easily over little things. She wanted to let me know so I could chat with her and see what was going on. I sat down with Maddie last night and asked her to tell me what happened.

I told her about the email and asked what was wrong. At first she was talking about friends who had been mean to her and upset her, and that led in to a story about glue and how her teacher said she wasn't supposed to get the glue and she *tried* to tell her, etc. Since her story (no surprise) was a little different than her teacher's, I asked about the discrepancies - I had been told she was crying about mis-cut paper, not glue. As she told that part of the story, she started crying again. I probed and asked what she was really crying about, since the idea of her crying about glue or paper seemed completely improbable.

She said nothing else was going on, and I told her I've been going through a tough time, and it's kind of coloring everything else... things that wouldn't upset me right now are getting me really upset, etc. I asked if there was anything like that for her and she said no. I asked if maybe she was missing her dad after spring break, and she said no, she wasn't thinking about him at all. I had her tell the story again and asked why she cried then and now, as she told it. It came down to the fact that she thought her teacher was really mad at her, since she had raised her voice. I asked Maddie if she thought her teacher cared about her, and she shrugged her shoulders. Then I pointed out that if her teacher didn't care at all, she wouldn't have emailed me, and Maddie acknowledged it.

We started talking about the difference between an adult raising her voice to be heard vs raising it because she's angry, and Maddie was pretty sure that she had been angry. I asked Maddie to think about it from her teacher's perspective, and Maddie nodded. Then I asked the all important question, "Do you know what that means?" Maddie said she did not, in fact, understand the concept she had just said she understood.

Putting yourself in another person's shoes is SUCH an important concept. I have dealt with so, SO many people who steadfastly, stubbornly...selfishly... refuse to see things from another person's point of view. It's not an easy task, it requires compassion and a willingness to die to yourself. To put someone else's interest over your own is, in all honesty, tough. Not to get all John Lennon on you, but man... can you imagine a world where people did that? No more theft, no more lying, no more cheating spouses and broken hearts. It would be really, really amazing if more people could do that. No, it would be really, really amazing if more people WOULD do that. We can all do it, it just takes practice. This brings me back to Maddie, and my realization that this is one of those life lessons that I really wanted to get through to her.

As we sat face to face on my bed, I talked about perspective. I told her that I can't see what she could see right then, but if I imagined what it was like to be sitting where she was, I had an idea of what she was seeing. I told her, "I bet from where you are sitting you see my pillows on my bed, my wall hanging behind my head and the curtains on the window... am I right?" She said I was (yay me! ; ) LOL) and then I asked her to tell me what I was seeing. She said "You see me (awesome)... the picture on the wall... the...dresser..." and I stopped her. I told her she was exactly right and she didn't have to see *everything* I was seeing, but the fact that she was seeing some of it was good. I told her that when she is dealing with situations with people, she can do that - put herself in their place and see things the way THEY do. It was then that we tossed around what it must be like to deal with a bunch of second graders who are loud, have to be told things multiple times, and all have a reason why they're using the glue when they're not supposed to that the teacher has neither the time nor the inclination to hear.

Maddie and I decided that it was altogether possible that her teacher was not yelling out of anger, she was yelling out of necessity... to be heard, to be obeyed and maybe, possibly a teeny bit out of frustration. Lord help the teachers, who do every day what so many will not. All that to say, I think Maddie got it. I hope Maddie got it. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to teach my daughter something that will make a positive impact on the world as a whole and her small community of her class. I hope I can remember to have this same attitude when I'm driving to work in a bit... because I did NOT show compassion to the man who cut me off yesterday. Ahhhh, I hate it when my lessons come full circle to slap me in the face.

Happy Thursday, everyone.