Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fun with my new Toy

Meet Chloe and Casey

I just bought a Flip Video Camera and while I am not quite ready to start my own production company, I do, however, feel pretty much the same as I did when I got my first cell phone (only I'm not hiding behind racks of clothes in a department store like I used to because I thought someone might think I was pretentious and snobby because I owned a cell phone which, by the way, was about the size of a brick!) FYI - my little video camera is smaller than my first cell phone actually. But - this - this is MAGIC! I feel like I've just entered into a new dimension...like being on the Starship Enterprise where Captain Kirk can teleport me anywhere I want to go in the blink of an eye - to BOLDLY go where no man has gone before!! (Simmer down....I'm still talking about the camera!) This little piece of technological ingenuity has opened up a whole new world of possibility! And now....my family lives in fear. Here's why (and I quote):

"Oh my goodness.....Mom is on FaceBook. Did you know Mom was on FaceBook?"

"Oh great - someone gave her a digital camera AND she's on FaceBook."

"Who told Mom about the Flip Video Camera? What?? She saw it advertised on FaceBook?"

"Are you KIDDING ME?? She has her own YouTube account?"

Yeah....I'm pretty excited.

Friday, December 26, 2008

His Name is Eric

They met in the sixth grade and he was her ‘bully’ – or more accurately, he was doing what sixth grade boys do when they like a girl. And if that girl’s assigned seat just happened to be directly in front of said ‘bully’, then it made it just a little easier for him to get her attention. They had their first date in the ninth grade and he asked her to marry him on her 20th birthday.

When Eric accompanied our family to Costa Rica to be a part of the wedding celebration of my son and soon to be daughter in law, anyone would be hard-pressed to think he could have ever bullied her even on a sixth grade level. At the reception we girls kicked off our sassy high heels shoes and danced the night away, barefoot, while the Costa Rican monsoon dropped buckets from the moonlit sky. It was fantastic! When we got back to our garden of paradise hotel we were soaking wet and drenched in happiness. We all went our separate ways to change into dry clothes. As I walked down the hall to say goodnight to my own mom, she silently motioned for me to stop, put her finger up to her lips in the universal “shhhh” position then pointed, directing my attention to the room on the left. I know my mom’s smiles – the ones that say “thank you” or “you’re still so silly” but this one let me know that I was about to be witness to something that would speak volumes about the man who would soon be my only daughter’s husband. As I walked closer I heard a giggle. I turned back and looked at my mom with an expression that asked “are you sure I should look?” With her nod of approval, I cautiously peeked in, hoping not to be seen, and there I caught a glimpse of love in action. My daughter sat perched barefoot on the edge of the bathroom sink as Eric washed her dance weary feet like she was a princess. Bully? I think not. I can’t help but wonder… did the thought ever occur to her as she squirmed in her sixth grade classroom chair or when she threatened to tell the teacher on him if he didn’t stop teasing her….. “Today I met the boy I’m gonna marry”.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Life Lessons from Stone Mountain

2008 has been a Wonderful year for Personal Growth!! How’s that for a positive point of view? Hey…it’s better than saying 2008 was a miserable year and I’ll be glad when it’s over. Ok…I’ve actually said that but I’m looking for that silver lining.

Truthfully, as I now reflect 2008 and Stone Mountain has taught me so much about life (yes, it's a mountain made of stone and you can walk the 1.25 miles up - it's spectacular but a real booty kicker if you're aerobically challenged). I liken this lesson to a moron…..excuse me, a PERSON who, on January 1st loudly proclaims "this is going to be the year I get into shape" (by the way, my mom told me ‘round’ is a shape – I kind of like that one). So, this "person", being a slave to fashion conformity, dons (don, you know..as in "Don we now our gay apparel…fa la la….") his Nike jogging pants, New Balance running shoes, a pair of polarized Aviator sun glasses and heads to Stone Mountain to join the other 1, 224 proud owners of new running gear who have made the very same New Year's resolution. Yep…you’ve seen him. The one who does those annoying warm up toe touches and windmill stretches making sure everyone sees him. Then suddenly, he hits the ground in a full sprint because he's decided there will be no pussy-footin’ around. He truly believes he can just RUN up the mountain when, for the previous 11 months and 30 days he hasn't so much as taken the trash to the end of the driveway without having to stop and catch his breath at least once. He envisions the crowd cheering and the music crescendoing as he reaches the summit – like the great Rocky Balboa. Yes, this is the same guy you pass who is standing with his hands on his hips, head bent down gasping for oxygen, mumbling something about “breaking in new shoes” as you methodically pace yourself in a steady rhythmic walk because YOU, at one time, were ‘that guy’. It sounded like a good idea as he announced his intentions to everyone in ear shot – we like to call it “accountability" because if we say it aloud then surely, it shall be SO. There might even have been a time in days of long ago that he could have sprinted his way to the top and not felt the pang of muscles that had atrophied or, at the very least, been comfortably hibernating. But today…not so much!
Ok – you ask, "WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH LIFE LESSONS FROM 2008?" Not really anything. I just love watching those people and, because I’ve learned to look for the positive in any situation, I usually say something like "good for you...hang in there” or ‘Hey...nice sun glasses!!’ That usually cheers them right up. :-)
Check out: "Just a Thought" for more insight into life!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Football and Fantasies

Back before “everything.com”, we subscribed to the local newspaper that was delivered to our front porch each morning via a young boy on a bicycle with a whale of precision pitch. Everyone took their favorite sections and we were your typical family….Dad clipped coupons (yes), I did the Jumble puzzle, my mom looked to see when the Dallas Cowboys were scheduled to play next. Our family lived and breathed Cowboy football. My father was a preacher (oh stop it already…I can hear what you’re saying about preachers' daughters, ya know!)….. And if the Cowboys were in the Super Bowl there was obviously a special heavenly injunction that allowed the church powers that be to rearrange, what was otherwise, a set in stone, attendance mandatory, service schedule. Oh we got our obligatory time in …song, prayer, two more songs, a mini-sermon that somehow weaved in a blessing for the boys about to take the field, that no harm would come their way (no blessing for the opposing team, mind you), one last prayer and a collective “Amen….Kill the Dolphins.” Wow…that just sounds wrong now on so many levels. Growing up in Texas we were taught to believe that we lived in “God’s country” and that the Cowboys were God’s team which is why the football stadium has a hole in the roof….so God could watch them play! And when my great-grandmother passed away, there above her casket, displayed with pride and honor… was a Dallas Cowboy pennant….I kid thee not.

I left Texas and moved to Georgia but never rescinded my loyalty to the Cowboys. Thankfully, my daughter was a cheerleader all through high school and understood the game. She cheered those Spartan boys to victory with her spirited “We want a…we want a...we want a TOUCHDOWN” and was even able to make sure the fans were engaged with “We’ve got Spirit YES WE DO…we’ve got Spirit HOW ‘BOUT YOU?”

Wait…let me correct myself – she did not understand the game, come to find out. Apparently she had not inherited the football gene. So when the moans and groans ensued of having to endure yet another Sunday afternoon of football I simply suggested she pull out her old cheerleading uniform and BE the half time show! She was less than amused but I'm pretty sure this is how Fantasy Football got started. :-)
Like this? Then check out: "Just a Thought" ~

Monday, December 1, 2008

Your Family Traditions are Weird

Let me start by saying our family used panty hose for Christmas stockings. Do you know how far panty hose stretch and how much you can stuff in them? And anything goes – fruit, tooth brushes, underwear (which had to be worn on your head if you got underwear in your stocking). Sometimes we’d go so far as to tie ‘trailers’ on the toe of the stocking if the goodie wouldn’t fit inside the stocking – like an omelet pan. I know…”why didn’t you just wrap them up in a box like normal people?” We did – we had traditional wrapped presents as well. But the stockings were half the fun! And when the kids looked in the den with their sleepy eyes and saw their stocking draped over the back of a chair filled to overflowing with a mystery bonus gift tied to the toe – well, priceless. You should have seen what our 80 year old grandmother did with her stocking and a banana … and two oranges…use your imagination!!

But now it was Easter which, to us, traditionally meant dying Easter Eggs…and hiding them along with chocolate bunnies and robin’s eggs which were malted milk balls – which the kids hated but I loved. But that was pretty much the extent of the Easter Celebration. This is not to say that we didn’t celebrate the resurrection of Christ – we just didn’t restrict it to a particular day. But her fiancĂ©’s family had traditions that paled in comparison – like refraining from eating meat for six weeks! When you come from the land of beef, that concept was…well, hard to swallow! He also does the egg thing but they follow the Orthodox calendar so it’s never the same time as mainstream Easter which was confusing at first but then I realized HEY…twice as much fun! But this was his tradition and if she wanted to embrace it that would be her decision. I just wanted malted milk balls.

My son married and embraced the traditions of his wife which meant he would not celebrate any holiday. I have to be honest that at first that was a system shocker – not so much the thought of not having family Christmas together or that he wouldn’t pass the panty hose custom down the family tree but more that I wouldn’t be getting a birthday present from him any more. Birthdays are big to me. It’s a tradition that goes back to when my grandmother started throwing her own birthday party and does to this day. I love that tradition so I embraced that one myself.

My other son has been dating a girl who doesn’t celebrate the resurrection or Christmas at all. And she’s Vegetarian – which is amazing that someone can refrain from ever having a Chili’s Big Mouth Burger. Six weeks? Maybe. So….I learned all about hummus. I also began learning about Shabbat and the beauty of people rich in history.

From my daughter’s fiancĂ© I learned about "stefana", thin white crowns used in an Orthodox wedding which are joined by a white ribbon and have been blessed by the priest. These crowns symbolize the glory and honor that is being bestowed on them by God, and the ribbon symbolizes their unity.

And I learned that you don’t need any holiday or tradition to express love and acceptance. And that being given a gift for no reason other than “I thought you’d like this” is better than anything tradition ever guilted us into buying.

The beauty of family begins with embracing diversity and making room for new traditions – even if those traditions include the removal of some old ones. Happy…every day!