Thursday, September 5, 2013

Who I Want To Be

Coolest Person in the World
For a long time now I've wanted to be my little sister. She makes things I want to do look effortless. I want to be a photographer. She's a gifted photographer. I want to speak Spanish. She speaks fluent Spanish. I want to live in Missouri, you should see her COMO house :-) (You get the idea.)

It sounds like the perfect recipe for envy or jealousy or something else you could characterize as one of those seven deadly sin thingies. But the truth is I want to be my sister because her insides and her outsides are profoundly amazing. I look at her and feel so much admiration and pride. It feels a little like wanting to be a better person because you're around better people.

She is also one of the extremely limited number of living souls who understands what is happening inside my mind, and can accurately finish my sentences when my words won't come. The African proverb "Ubuntu" - I am because you are - probably wasn't crafted with two western white women in mind, but there is no better definition for who and what she is to me. I can become irritated with her and vice versa, but in the end, I am who I am because she is who she is, and there's nothing I am that hasn't been made better since she became a part of my life. Our parents got it right when they gave our family its Shauna.


Ordinarily I don't plug things, but my baby sister's photography is the bomb, and well worth a look. Check it out, and marvel at its awesomeness.

Free and Clear

This little guy was hanging out in my draft folder. Since this was written, we've sold the truck, moved out of state, found out Mason has Chron's, I got a new job and my family came back to Columbia. But the more things change, the more they stay the same . . . case in point:


You know what's cool? I can write anything, ANYTHING, in this blog, and Monte will never read it because it's too "wordy." It's awesome really. I can say whatever I want, reveal embarrassing facts, make pointed remarks, because there's no payback. Ever. It's a blank check.

Dang it. The handicap is that I love him. Rats.

P.S. Monte's aversion to reading is topped only by his aversion to listening to long winded explanations. If you want him to pay attention to you, say it in three words or less. Preferably less. I left him a long message on the phone the other day, explaining how I'd hit a trash can outside Starbucks, and got a scratch down the side of his truck, and how I wanted to take the truck to the body shop and get it fixed right away, and how I was so sorry, and the truck is so big and hard to drive and I would some how make it up that I had ruined the truck, and that I had already talked to the guy at Machens Ford Auto Body and how I was so so so sorry. I was on the verge of tears during the three and a half minute message. His reply? He didn't listen to it all, because it got kind of long winded, but it was something about the truck, right?


Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm just saying!

The following things bug me. Not a lot, but still.

1. When people type "WALA!" in an e-mail, when the word they actually mean to convey is "voilĂ ." No wonder French people think we're stupid. (And cranky too, because we write "stuff that bugs me" lists for the world to see.)

2. Price increases of 100% or more in a sagging economy. I'm looking at you Netflix. And OPEC. And the healthcare industry. At least Krispy Kreme is just eliminating the free doughnut they used to give out to people in line, instead of raising menu prices to compensate. (That actually makes a lot of sense to me--I'm there to buy doughnuts, but after eating the one they give me in line and the one Mason got in line but doesn't want, I'm good. Once I get to the cashier, I think, "Now, what did I come in here for again?")

3. Getting a 3/4 full drink cup just because I asked for no ice. Really, Starbucks? The $4 you charge for a Trenta iced tea lemonade not profitable enough to get you to overlook the smidgen of extra tea I'm getting out of the deal?

4. The NBA lockout. It's time somebody caves so they can give me back my season. I've got a lot of yelling to do and no large scale arena to do it in. I guess I could pick another sport and yell at my TV, but it's not the same. Those pro-bowlers just don't inspire at-home cheering.

5. There is no #5 because I'm really very very happy and this list is just a silly waste of time :-)

I finally scrapped again!

Finally, after a two month hiatus, I scrapped something. Just the one page, but still!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Unexpected surprise

Monte and I have been married 20 years, and for the first nine we didn't have kids. Like a lot of dual income childless Americans, we spent a lot of those first years taking fun car trip vacations. Then, along came the babies, and long car rides stopped being fun and exciting, and started being a source of bottomless dread. Each time we scheduled a trip farther than the farm, my stomach would tighten in correlation with how close we were to departure.

In all fairness to my stomach, there was plenty of precedent to support such an over reaction. If we were lucky enough on these extended roller coaster rides to make it all the way to point B without anyone vomiting or pooping out of their pants, then there was the inevitable last third of the trip listening to the screaming and crying of people sick of their car seats and with nothing left to lose. Even recalling the memories makes me battle weary.

As you can imagine, when Monte suggested in June that we take a car trip vacation to Houston and San Antonio, I looked at him like he had lost his flipping mind. "We have children," I said, as if he had suggested we run to the local multiplex for an R-rated movie.

Those of you who know Monte, however, know that nine times out of ten given enough time to present a persuasive argument and gift me with several surprise iced tea lemonades from Starbucks, he will get his way. And so it was, that I found myself early this morning packing the car full of luggage and supplies for a dreaded car trip to Houston. Wet wipes? Check. Paper towels? Check. Snacks? Drinks? Antacids? Check. IPad, iPhones, PSPs? Check. Steel iron maternal will? Maybe we can get some on the way.

But we've been on the road now for five hours, and a strange and magical thing is happening. At the risk of jinxing myself, I can report no one in our van is fighting. No one is crying. No one is vomiting or pooping inappropriately. The only sounds are satellite radio Big 80s on 8 and quiet chatter about game scores. If it were December I'd call it a Christmas miracle, but since we're in the middle of a massive summer heat wave, I guess I will have to settle for calling it a regular miracle.

I know my children are getting older, and that car trips would eventually be pleasant again. It's just nice that someday decided to show up a little ahead of schedule.
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Memory of my Dad

The summer I turned 16 I worked at the McDonald's off 65 Highway in Marshall, MO. One morning early on, I was assigned to run the breakfast register. It was probably the second time I'd ever done so, and I was still getting used to where all the food picture buttons were located, which meant I was not the speediest or most accurate order taker in the world. And to make matters worse, these were the days before numbered meal options, which meant a 1986 McDonald's patron had to list each item he or she wanted to eat, making the odds of missing something on that list astronomical. It was the perfect storm to put me smack dab into full blown panic mode.

Thus was my state of mind when an older man walked up to the counter to get breakfast. "Gimme an egg mcmuffin," he said. I dutifully pressed the button for the sandwich, hit the total button and reported the price with tax. Money changed hands and I proceeded to fill the order.

When I handed him the sandwich, he barked, "Well? Where's my coffee and hashbrowns?!" At the time I was caught completely flat footed. How had I not heard two-thirds of this man's breakfast? (Looking back on it, I can't help but wonder why he wasn't suspicious that, if he'd ordered an egg mcmuffin, coffee and hashbrowns, how is it that his bill came to just over a dollar? No, this particular 'gentleman' didn't question the cost of his breakfast. Just the items included in it.)

"I wanted coffee and hashbrowns! You don't think I'm gonna just eat this sandwich without anything to drink?!"

"No, sir. But I didn't charge you for the coffee and hashbrowns."

"Well fine! Just give me the coffee and hashbrowns. This is ridiculous!"

"Yes sir. Here they are."

The old man mumbled "Terrible service!" and walked off with his food.

I didn't even look up at the next guy in line. I mumbled something like, "can I take your order" and stared down at the register keys hoping they would keep me from crying. And then I heard . . .

"You didn't charge him for coffee and a hashbrown, because he didn't order a coffee and a hashbrown."

I looked up and there, next in line, was my dad. Vindication is a very freeing thing, but it's even sweeter coming from a source you care about. All of a sudden I didn't feel like a failure. In fact, I felt like maybe I could do this job after all. Smiling, I looked up and said, "What do you want to eat, Dad?"

"Just coffee is fine. Are you doing okay?"

"Yeah. It's 59 cents." And I handed the best man in the world some hot McDonald's coffee.

"Thanks," he said, and off he went, back to his truck, to finish his drink and read his paper. Because that's what superman does. He saves the day and then he goes off somewhere to read the paper.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Forget 2012. The real year to fear is 2018.

Mason mentioned to me at his 5th grade graduation that he is in the class of 2018. I said, "No honey, you're in the class of 2011." He shook his head and said, "Mommm! I meant high school! Sheesh!" Okay, he didn't really say sheesh, but I can't accurately encode into written language the meaningful noises that come from my eleven year old. Essentially, sound he made was meant to convey the fact that I'm hopelessly backward and unaware of some very basic facts. In effect, sheesh.

The far off pronouncement of a 2018 high school graduation wouldn't ordinarily be cause for alarm. It sounds like there's plenty of time between today and then. But I am not ordinary, and the truth is I can't remember what happened to the last eleven years and how I ended up here with this beta test man person who is nearly as tall as I am and who wears the same shoe size. It really seems to me that we ought to have just gotten to the year 2004. I would be totally comfortable writing 2004 on my checks, and checking my DSL e-mail connection. Although I'm a fraud, because when it actually was 2004, I remember wondering what happened to 1998. I also distinctly remember in 1992, after getting a notice from Sallie Mae that if I continued my school loan repayment plan as scheduled that my loan should be forgiven in 2002, thinking, "Wow. 2002. Will I even be alive then? That's so far away. Good grief we'll probably be traveling in flying cars by 2002." Now I'm beginning to wonder if 2002, and indeed the whole first decade of the present century wasn't secretly abbreviated by some shadowy government agency while we were all out watching Harry Potter films. Because it sure seems like it. Area 51, I'm looking at you. Not sure why, but I am!

Twenty-eighteen. Only seven more shopping years until my baby goes to college.

I am almost certainly not going to handle it well when 2018 comes about in real time, or in six months as it will seem to me. At least my student loan is paid off. Mason's wont be forgiven until 2032!


Sydney Grace at Arrow Rock State Park, Arrow Rock, MO