I’m sitting in the airport for the first time in 18 months. Interestingly, or maybe not, I’m heading to the same place now that I was then. Just a few months before the world shut down and life as we knew it was gone.
Not gonna lie, I’m nervous. Not about getting sick or even Covid at all. I’m nervous about rejoining the world of the people. The Land of the Living. I like my little coccoon. I like seeing only the Boy, the Pind and the cat most days. I say I miss doing things and being around others but the few times I have lately it’s been very overwhelming. Overstimulating and stressful.
Of course I could have dipped my toe back into the public pool with a mini trip. To a place without big crowds of loud people. A quiet spa somewhere maybe. A training wheels trip if you will. But no.
I’m going to Orlando. Universal Studios. Disney World.
I will survive and it will be fun. I’ll be with some of my favorite people who will ensure a great trip with lots of laughter. But the nagging low grade anxiety is still there. In my defense, that’s always true going to Disney World, even pre-pandemic. Second only to perhaps an actual war zone, Disney World is arguably one of the most stressful places on the planet. Because nothing is easy. Nothing is intuitive. Deadlines to remember, reservations to make, plan every detail a year or more ahead or miss out. You didn’t book your dinner plans exactly 60 days to the second in advance? Oh well too bad for you. Even then it’s a crap shoot. Better obsessively check the app at the crack of dawn every morning like an addict looking for a fix. And 60 days is actually *better*, it used to be six months. Who knows what they want for dinner 180 days in advance??
Why is it that the people who line up the most hoops for us to jump through are the same ones that say, “Just relax and enjoy yourself!”
That’s not how it works, boo boo.
Cross my heart I’m really not as salty as I sound. It’s going to be lots of fun. It’s always fun and will be even with the new policies and procedures. It will be even if it rains every day. The people I choose to travel with are always fun even if we sometimes yell at each other in EPCOT. Now that all the planning and pre-vacation work is done, I do intend to relax and just go with the flow as much as possible. I’ve done all I can to make sure we have a good time and now it’s the little things, the happy accidents and silly predicaments, that will be what we laugh about when we tell stories about this trip.
I already miss my boys and my comfy chair on the ranch. I know the Boy will take good care of my sweet old doggie. And I’m honestly looking forward to a break from full time caregiver. No matter who you’re taking care of and how much you love them, that is a very draining role.
Now I say goodbye, it’s time for me to board. I’ll be home to my babies next Tuesday. I plan to stare at the wall all day on Wednesday but then on Thursday I may be recovered enough to write a post trip review and share some photos.
Y’all have a wonderful week and please pray for us as we venture out into the happiest place on earth.
Hi again! I don’t really have a post-post for this week so I’m just going to phone it in with a recipe.
Ok that’s a lie. It’s not really even a recipe, I just want to brag about how delicious these turned out.
You only need two things. Cookies and ice cream. Pre-made cookie dough would be totally fine but I used Phoebe’s grandmother’s recipe. Plain vanilla ice cream. Blue Bell here because Texas.
Make the cookies slightly larger than regular. Cool like usual and then put in the freezer. I left mine overnight but that’s only because I forgot about them. Two or three hours is plenty.
Sit the ice cream out for 20 minutes or so to get pretty soft.
Scoop ice cream onto the bottom of one cookie, press another cookie on top of it. Wipe the edges clean. You gotta work fast cause this part gets messy.
Load them up four sandwiches to a Ziploc bag. Lay flat in the freezer. Enjoy!
These turned out so much better than I even imagined and I may or may not feel sick as I type this because I have no self control and just ate two. Even the Boy with next to no sweet tooth loves them. Hope you do too! 🍪
I want to begin with a confession. What is likely to be the most controversial thing I ever say on this page, I do not at all care for John Lennon. (I can practically hear one of my friends losing it as she reads this right now. Sorry yo.) I have my reasons but that’s not what this post is about. Those lyrics just fit and coming up with titles is hard.
I vividly remember the moment. My first and maybe only ever true epiphany. It was my sophomore year of high school, circa 2000. Sitting in my bathroom sink one morning getting ready for school. Caking on foundation that didn’t match my skin tone and drawing on eyeliner thicker than my eyebrows. It was a different time. No you are not getting a photo. Suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks that there were other kids all over the county getting ready for school just like I was. Kids that I didn’t know, who didn’t know me. Getting ready, going to school, going about their lives. Entirely independent of me and what I was doing.
Yes this makes me sound stupid. To be fair though I believe there are a terrifying number of adults out there who have never actually realized that everything does not revolve around them. What that moment did do for me was create a tiny puncture in the bubble in which I had, to that point, lived my whole life. Not everything changed overnight. I was still an insufferable twit for many more years. But all at once I had gained the gift of perspective.
In the years since, that perspective has grown and evolved and torn a huge hole in how I think and the way I view the world.
In every corner of the earth, we all do the same basic things every day. We sleep and eat, work and love, laugh and cry. What distinguishes us from one another are the many different ways in which we each got to the places we are today. Childhoods, circumstances, experiences and choices. The things we’ve seen and been through. How can I hope to understand what the stranger across the street, or across the world, feels when I have no idea what they saw yesterday or ten years ago? How could I claim a person’s opinion on a subject is wrong when I can’t know what they were taught growing up or the experiences that led them to that position? In brutal fashion, I have become aware that “my way” isn’t the only way or even necessarily the right way. As us Disney kids learned from Mrs. Potts,
“Bittersweet and strange,
finding you can change,
learning you were wrong.”
Not understanding where someone is coming from is very normal. Writing them off because it’s uncomfortable making the effort to understand is inexcusable. The ability to set aside your own biases and preconceived notions is a skill that requires conscious effort and practice. It’s said that travel is the death of close-mindedness. If you have the privilege to see the world and experience different cultures, I encourage you to do so. But reading is another form of travel and a beautiful way to peer through someone else’s eyes for a few minutes.
It’s natural to feel strongly about your beliefs and opinions. And it’s ok to disagree, even with the people you love. The goal is to make sure you are thinking critically about the world around you, asking hard questions, and always taking the opportunity to learn from others. Even the stupid people. Sometimes you learn the most from them.
I am not at all sure if I’ve made any kind of point. I’m no longer even sure what point I was going for. I will probably touch on this subject many times again, likely after I’ve had to explain my position on John Lennon. But I want to leave you today with a quote from a former atheist turned born again Christian, a decorated and well respected scientist, director of the National Institute of Health and Dr. Fauci’s boss, Dr. Francis Collins.
“One must dig deeply into opposing points of view in order to know whether your own position remains defensible. Iron sharpens iron.”
Welcome back! I’ve missed it here. There was no real intention to write weekly at the start but I didn’t write last week and I’ve been wracked with guilt about it. Blogger’s guilt, is that a thing? I gotta tell y’all I hate the word blog. It sounds like some kind of gross goop that grows in your house and requires a special cleaning product. I digress.
I also really struggle with deciding what to write. That’s truly the hardest part for me, like trying to decide what to make for dinner every night forever. I’ve always been one of those people that needs a thing to be extremely, entirely perfect or I feel like there’s no point in doing it at all. That’s a hard habit to break but it’s a super unreasonable standard to hold yourself or anyone else to. I’ll have a dozen half ideas and stress myself into oblivion thinking, what’s the perfect subject to write about, would something else be more appropriate for this week? This is kind of stupid, it doesn’t matter, there’s something more important to write about. No doubt there is. But this is an exercise in putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as the case may be. What that means for me is absolving myself of any duty to write something deep or meaningful and just write. Ideas float up and most of them are stupid but eventually one will float to the surface enough times and then that’s the next topic of this blog. Blog, ugh.
So what is this post actually going to be about, you ask. Well I will tell you. Today we will be starting an occasional mini series where I tell y’all about some of the dumb things I’ve done and we all laugh together in wonder at how I have managed to survive mostly intact this long.
Years ago when my husband and I were still dating.. (It has been brought to my attention that he does not care for the moniker “The Boy”. He prefers “The Man” but that sounds weird to me so negotiations are underway, I’ll keep you posted.) Years ago when we were pretty newly dating, I was at my apartment one night after work doing my nails.
It should be noted here that I go through phases where I love having my nails done. Like the long, tick on everything, might stab someone, not at all practical, beautiful nails. Not all the time, sometimes I don’t care. But I can never stand to go get them done at the salon. I don’t have the patience to sit there for two hours or the follow through to go back every few weeks. So I buy the plastic Kiss glue on nails for $6 at Walgreens and do them myself. I have very few real talents but gluing fake nails onto my fingers is one of them.
Anyway. So I’m at my apartment doing my nails after work while the Man-Boy’s at the gym. I’m sitting at my little kitchen table and the dog’s in my lap. I’m all set up, I’ve sized each nail and gotten them all laid out. All that’s left is to glue them on. I dig around in my purse for some nail glue. Find one. Shock of all shocks, the lid is stuck on tight. It’s at this point my genius 20 something self does the most logical thing I can think of and I hold the bottle in one hand and grip the lid in my teeth. The next five seconds is kind of a blur. It’s been a decade and I’m still not sure what happened. The cap of this tiny bottle doesn’t twist off. I somehow rip this bottle of glue IN HALF, sloshing glue all over myself, the dog and the kitchen table. My dog mom instincts kick in and I check him immediately. A little glue in the fur but otherwise unharmed. Thank goodness.
Then I blinked. My right eye blinked like normal. My left eye closed and stayed that way. I HAVE GLUED MY EYE SHUT. I grab my eyelid, pry it open and call my dad.
“Daddy I have glue in my eye, what do I do?”
“You have what in your eye?”
“Nail glue. I have just splashed nail glue into my eye. What do I do?”
He skips over “how on earth..?” and goes straight to, ok you need to rinse your eye out. He told me to get in the shower and hold my face up under the shower head in lukewarm water for several minutes. Ok, can do. I turn on the shower and start looking for a good temperature. My phone rings. Hello? Daddy says, how’s it going? Not even in the shower yet, I’ll let you know. I’m holding my eyelid open this whole time and there is rapidly drying glue on my eyeball. I get in the shower fully clothed and stick my face under the water. In the few minutes I’m trying to flush my eye out, my phone rings several more times. Hello?
By this point in my life my parents are extremely used to me or someone else calling them to explain what dumb thing I’ve done now, I’ve always been their do dumb sh*t kid. This may have been the first time though that I was several hundred miles away and it’s dawning on us both that he won’t be able to just come rescue me. Eventually we realize that I can’t talk on the phone and flush my eye out at the same time so he says, ok flush your eye out and call me back. That moment as a parent to an adult child when you become aware that your options for fixing a situation are limited and you can really only sit and wait must be terrifying.
I stand there waterboarding myself for what feels like forever, get out and call my dad back. He says, how does it feel? Well it burns and I’m afraid to close my eye. Still holding my eyelid open with one hand. He says, ok I think you should go to the ER. Is there anyone you can call to drive you?
Le sigh. There is but I was really hoping my new boyfriend wouldn’t discover that I’m an idiot for some time yet. It’s still pretty new and he still thinks I’m cool. This is not a moment for shame, however. So I call him. He’s right in the middle of his workout.
“Hey. What’s up?”
“I need you to come take me to the hospital please, I have glue in my eye.”
“Be right there, baby.”
He abandons his workout, if you know him you know what a big deal this is, and shows up at my door five minutes later. I’ve managed to put on dry clothes and give the dog a treat one handed. He asks what happened on the way to the hospital and I tell him the whole dumb tale. We get there, check in and sit in the waiting room. I say over and over that he doesn’t have to wait for me, I’ll be fine and can take a cab home (Uber wasn’t really a thing yet). He won’t hear of it. He stays with me the entire time, takes me to the overnight pharmacy to get my prescription drops, then takes me to McDonald’s for dinner (also a huge deal if you know him). Never once did he laugh or act like I was putting him out in any way.
In the end, my eye was fine. I wore glasses for a couple of weeks and learned a very valuable lesson. A couple actually.
One. Be very, very careful with your nail glue. Any kind of glue for that matter. And never, ever open it with your teeth.
Two. If the person you share your life with isn’t willing to drop what they’re doing to come help you out of an extremely dumb, self imposed situation no questions asked, and can’t be counted upon to not laugh at or criticize you at least until making sure you are entirely ok, you’re in the wrong relationship.
In the intervening years we’ve laughed a lot about it and I’ve since done and said way dumber things which will be saved for future posts. He has never once made me feel lesser than for not being perfect or afraid to come to him with any little dumb thing I need.
Just like my dad and my husband and all the other people I rely on, surround yourself with those who will support you, help you, and wait to make sure you are going to be fine before saying, “Wow, that was stupid”. We all need a strong safety net and, occasionally, we all need to be told the hard truth.
Having good people like that in your life is my wish for you.
Welcome back. Today I’d like to introduce you to my daughter. It’s her birthday. She is smart and successful and tall and beautiful. Oh, also, she’s four months older than me.
See, I told you this page would be interesting.
Allow me to explain. Usually when you start dating a man with a kid, you’re expecting a cute, snotty seven year old. Well what I got was a cute, only slightly snotty 25 year old. It really could have gone either way for the Boy. In hindsight, the odds of two twenty-something Type A’s hitting it off were not excellent. But here we are, ten plus years later, she’s my best friend, my travel partner, and my secret keeper. In one sense it worked out well for my husband, us getting along means a lot less drama. But on the other hand, he’s kind of out of luck because if she and I agree on something, it doesn’t really matter what he thinks. We don’t usually even consult him.
I honestly don’t remember anymore exactly how or when we became best friends, it just seems like we always have been. I barely remember my pre-Daughter Unit days. No idea where the name Daughter Unit came from but that’s what the Boy calls her and it still makes me laugh, so I stole it. We’ve had fun times and sad times. We’ve had early morning flights and late night Uber rides. We’ve traveled to both sides of the country without supervision and come home mostly unscathed. It’s been said that she has the skills to make us rich and I have the skills to keep us alive. So far, so good. I used to be the bad influence on her but now we take turns. All great friendships have an occasional bad influencer and if you think yours doesn’t, I have some news.
But it’s not only the best friend benefits that I enjoy. I also revel in my mom role. I mean, come on. She’s a responsible, hardworking, respected in her field business woman that I didn’t have to birth or raise. Kind of the best of both worlds for me over here and I’m definitely not above taking my motherly credit for how she turned out. Never mind that I was in utero when she was born and we didn’t meet until we were both adults. Details. I’m so proud of the woman I’ve watched her become in the last ten years. She’s confident and kind, compassionate and a friend to everyone. She’s unafraid to stand up for herself but hasn’t lost her sweet soft heart. I never doubt that she’ll tell me the truth and she always accepts my unsolicited motherly advice with only the occasional eye roll, like a good daughter should.
So here’s to my Daughter Unit on her birthday. If you ever have the opportunity to be best friends with your kid, 10/10 would definitely recommend.
This will probably be a bit rambling but I’d like to go ahead and set that as a precedent so y’all will know what to expect.
My grandmother passed away in January and I’ve been thinking a lot about all the things I learned from her. So many little things she taught me on purpose. How to make Southern sweet tea, which I can no longer drink because I enjoy closing my eyes and having a normal heart rate. How to play gin rummy and how to never lose a board game (don’t, keep playing until you win or everyone else is so tired they forfeit). How to make peanut brittle and Nanny’s Bread (TM pending). I learned at her knee that “thongs” is another word for flip flops. It was a question on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire once and a very confusing moment for us both. But the most valuable lesson I learned from her she never even knew she was teaching me.
Nanny taught me that getting good sleep is very important and you can do whatever it takes to make sure you get it. You see my Pop, her husband of almost 53 years, snored like he was attempting to open a portal to the underworld, which I can’t say for sure is a noisy process but I have to assume it is. For my entire life and many years before that, Nanny had a separate bedroom. The moment my dad moved out on his own, Nanny peaced out of the master bedroom and moved into daddy’s old room. It was just normal for them to have separate rooms. Turns out, not everyone knows that if your spouse is snoring or annoying, you’re allowed to bail on them. There is no law that says you must remain in the same bed and be miserable. You can love someone but not sleep next to them. I took that to heart. It used to hurt the Boy’s (my husband) feelings when I’d disappear in the middle of the night but I’m a better person when I sleep well and not resenting the one you share your life with goes a long way toward making for a better relationship.
But as I get older, I’m realizing this lesson goes so much deeper. If something in your life isn’t working for you, it’s ok to change it. Your job leaving you stressed or unfulfilled? Look for a new one. A friendship been feeling negative or draining? Take a break from it. If something or someone is making you miserable, you’re allowed to cut them out. *Unless it’s your toddler, then you’re just going to have to push through. Unfollowing people in real life is a glorious feeling. Want to run away and join the circus? I would advise thinking through it long and hard and maybe talking to a therapist, but if traveling acrobat is where your heart lies, give it a shot. I realize all of this is easier said than done but the alternative is living a life you look back on with regret. If you’re truly unhappy with your life or something in it, dig deep inside to figure out specifically what that is, pray about it, talk to someone you trust or a professional, and figure out what steps you can take toward fixing it. You are the only person who can know what it is that you need and, no matter what it feels like, you are not stuck where you are.
My grandmother is not the only example of how to make your life better that I grew up watching. Both of my parents quit their jobs, went back to school and built new careers from scratch in their forties. At 15 I didn’t understand what a huge deal that was but now, at 35, I think about how scary and overwhelming that must have been. But in the scheme of things it was a short term struggle for a long term life change. And it wasn’t just their lives or our family’s life that changed. They now affect countless lives for the better every single day. All because they took chances, took scary leaps, and found the careers that were calling to them. I’m so proud of that I still tear up just thinking about it.
So now how do I wrap this up? Seems like we’ve gone a long way from sweet tea and thongs. If it hasn’t been clear, what I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to take a chance and do something differently. Don’t be afraid to be a little selfish and think about what it is that you need sometimes. Everyone around you will benefit from that. Life is occasionally hard and scary no matter what but it will be infinitely worse if you are suffering through the status quo because you don’t think you have a choice. You do, I promise. So make that change. Take that leap. Join Cirque du Soleil. If nothing else, I will be proud of you. And I know my Nanny would be too.
Hey all you cool cats and kittens! No wait. Scratch that. Let’s start again.
Hey, hi, how are you? Why are you here? Not like in an existential worldly way but like right here on this page. How did you get here? I don’t even know why I’m here. I’ve put this off as long as I can today. I worked out, took the dog for a walk, cleaned the house and it’s still not supper and chill time yet so here goes nothing.
For years since we quit our jobs my mama’s been telling me to start a blog. Every time I reply, I don’t even know what I would write about. Without fail she says, just write about the things you’re interested in. At which point, my brain takes its leave. It’s like how between New Years and Halloween I have a long mental list of all the things I want for Christmas but come November I have suddenly never wanted or needed a single thing in my entire life. I don’t know what I’m interested in. I’m not one to get riled up or passionate about a lot. Haha, who am I kidding? Give me half a chance and a touchy subject and I will go clean off. So no promises about what kind of content you will find on this page. You’ve been warned.
Me? I live on a ranch five miles down a gravel road outside a town that you can not even find on a list of Texas towns. It’s definitely not the heart of Texas, but it is deep in some body part for sure. My husband and I are both retired from a Fortune 500 in Houston. Him because he’s old(er), me because I’m either lucky or good. My pride and joy is my sweet old man doggie, Indiana Jones. He’s 13 years old and he’s been my baby since he was 10 weeks and wrapped in a Care Bears blanket. We are also now raising a mouse killing ninja kitty that we rescued almost a year ago. His name is Felix Felicis and he’s the pride and joy of his formerly cat hating daddy. I am also the very proud aunt of three actual and amazing kiddos who live in my hometown in Mississippi.
What is this blog going to be about, you ask? Well that is an excellent question. I haven’t the foggiest so I will now just list for you some of the things I enjoy. I like to cook and eat. At our house we have recently left the paved path of recipes and ventured onto the hiking trails of experimentation. I love Harry Potter. As a very late adopter, I didn’t pick up the first book until I was 32 and now (at 35) I’ve read them at least a dozen times but have lost count. I like space and science and history. I’ve been to adult space camp with intentions of going back. I like television, especially classic sitcoms which do not yet get the cultured credit they deserve. I like crime, especially murder. Listening to podcasts, not committing them, so far. I’m a hopeless homebody who likes to travel. I’m a reformed theatre kid but will still sing you all the words to a Broadway show whether you like it or not. I enjoy keeping up with current events and getting massages. I like to exercise, read and sleep.
So there you have it. My first blog post. There will likely be some food, some Harry Potter, some travel and pop culture and probably a good deal of griping about things I don’t like because this is the 21st century and that’s what the internet is for. I make no promises about the frequency of posting, I’m kind of a flake. Hopefully this will be funny sometimes and maybe even occasionally relevant. My mama will probably be the only one who reads it. Hey mama, love you. ❤️