Here Comes Bride, There Goes Kidney

Really and Not Really!

My youngest, McPaddie, is getting married! Her fiancé is an awesome man; we are all beyond excited. That means we are having a wedding! YIKES.

Fortunately, the big event is a year away. Haven’t broached subject of budget with her dad. While he is totally on board, he has no clue what weddings cost. I’m thinking he’s thinking $7. Am totally Scarlett O’Hara about having that conversation with him. Must contact EMS unit to have on hand when I grow a pair and spit it out. “Tomorrow is another day”.

Meanwhile, this mission requires MAJOR CREATIVITY. A few of the thoughts that have crossed my mind at 3:00 am every morning:

  • Sell a kidney (no, think that’s against the law)
  • Numerous bikini car washes (force future bridesmaids into slave labor)
  • Bake sales (one cookie = $1000)
  • Stand on busy street corner with sign (nope; too hot and I work every day)
  • Call BRAVO and ask Andy Cohen to make a reality series for us (so not happening)
  • Start a new trend: the drive-by wedding (just kidding)

Obviously, I need your help! If you have any ideas – puh-leeze throw them out here. Before throwing, please note: they won’t elope, we will do our best and honor what the bride wants on budget, we know it’s about the ceremony, not the flash.

*We are Southern. That means the weddings in these parts = church ceremony and reception. Reception includes buffet, mucho alcohol, and a great band so you dance your ass off. Just so you know. Oh, and photography. Just blew left side of brain.

You have your assignment. Am off to search for loose change.

Later.

Nuts, We Are All Nuts

The other day my friend told me that everyone … and I mean everyone … is nuts. If that isn’t a given, I don’t know what is. The most important point here is – be very careful and picky about who you choose as your bowl mates. There are many varieties of nuts. Discernment is a very important tool. So is a garbage can. While on the topic of nuts …..

  • Why, in the name of God, would you write/record a breakup song about a POS who dumped you and call it, “Someone Like You“? I love Adele, I think the melody of the song is the best; what I don’t get it is … if your Significant Other treated you horribly, why would you want someone like that? Haters … don’t need an explanation, this is just an observation. Why not a song that says, “Someone Who Is Nothing Like You In Any Way At All Because You Are The Worst Person Ever“?
  • Don’t ever change!” If you went to high school and had a yearbook, I’ll bet you that’s written somewhere inside. It was just a phrase. Unfortunately, there are people who chose to believe this and haven’t. Changed. Deliver me.
  • My mother is studying the last book of the Bible, Revelations, written by the Apostle John. Last week, she told her Bible Study group that she believed John was taking LSD when he wrote it because Revelations is incomprehensible. She may be onto something but I don’t think they had LSD back then … maybe some mushrooms ….. maybe she’s on LSD.

Must go plan intervention. Or not.

Later.

Stop Being A Mother?

I am a mother.

Mercifully, I still have my own mother in a time when the majority of my friends have lost theirs. My mom and I have most certainly had our differences over the years. Big emphasis on differences. But she’s still my mom, and I know that she has always done the best she could to be a good mother. And no matter what my age, I will always be her child.

Many times, I’ve wanted to yell and scream at her, especially when she tells me what I should and shouldn’t do. But I’ve lived long enough to know that she just wants to help, and what sounds hurtful and critical is not meant that way at all. She wants to be relevant in my life, she wants me to be the best person I can be. So, I must let my interpretations of what I think she is saying fall through my mental sieve, and love her. It’s just the way it works for me. Time and experience, wasted anger and rage, have taught me to be the daughter of the woman who would give her life for me. At the end of the day, it’s all about respect. And the fact that my dad would probably whoop the living hell out of me, even at this late stage of the game, if I treated her with any disrespect.

My two daughters are the two best people I know. We get sideways sometimes. I’ll have an issue with one, and after exhausting the topic and getting nowhere, I’ll talk to the other about what I can do – or not do. Mothers are like that; we want our chicks to thrive in the best possible circumstances. And I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, unwarranted comments and offered advice has been misunderstood as hurtful criticism. This part of the mother job is the hardest. And that is an understatement.

Both of my daughters are adults. They are living adult lives. Yesterday, my youngest daughter and I got into it via text; she lives in another city and is making big decisions about the next few years of her life. I wanted to find out where she was in the decision process. Long story short – it ended badly. My opinions weren’t wanted, and I made it worse by pushing and pushing and pushing. Driving home from work, I felt like my skin was going to fall off, I was boiling inside. She was the one who, as a toddler, would press her face against the window and cry hysterically when I had to leave for work. She was the one who would throw up whenever I left town. But she’s an adult now. I forgot.

I’d invited my eldest daughter over for dinner last night. I was still in a swivet when I got home and the story of the day spilled out. She said, “Mom, you’ve got to let her go.” I’d never thought about it that way, but she’s right. The lessons always come from the most surprising places … and circumstances.

So, no matter what, I will always be here for both of them. For the tearful phone calls, for the requests for advice, to feed them when they are hungry, hug them when they are sad, laugh with them when we are amused, help them whenever necessary. Yes, I have to let them go. Hard but doable. This “freeing” process is going to take much discipline on my part. But I’m going to give it my best. I’m quite clear what letting them go doesn’t mean.

I will never stop being their mother. No matter what. Ever.

Be happy. Your choice.

Later.

Milestone Playlist in Three-Part Harmony

This is a story in three-part harmony.

Drove to Austin listening to my current favorite playlist.  My youngest, McPaddie, was graduating from UT. My solo road trip was extra fun because I could sing at the top of my lungs. SWEET. This morning, I jumped in the car, turned on the tunes, and headed home. SWEET and SALTY. What a difference 24 hours make.

One: BeforeWoke up yesterday morning at Austin Ann‘s peace haven. Something is off – oh, haven’t had coffee yet. Drink my body weight in java, read Nora Ephron‘s, “I Feel Bad About My Neck” from cover to cover. Jump in shower to wash off oompa loompa tan and get all gussied up for the Big Event. The second I see Ann, I tear up. Her baby just graduated from UGA, my baby will have a diploma in a couple of hours. It was a mom moment. Lots of deep breathing.  Fairy Godmother, Poob, arrived, we put our high hoofs on and off we went.

Two: During –  Met up with Miss Peach (eldest daughter) and her dad at the venue. Each school has a commencement ceremony; we were in an enormous venue for The School of Communications.

Yep, we were going to be there for hours. Poob‘s daughter graduated from Stanford; Oprah gave the commencement speech. We were anxious to find out who we would be listening to. Opened the program and OMG. The address was being given by a guy who dated one of our friends in high school and was engaged to another friend after college. I immediately sent a text to both women: Craig Dubow is the SPEAKER!” Furious texts flew back and forth between Austin, Houston, and Fredericksburg. I mean, he does have cred – Chairman and CEO of Gannet Co., Inc. Whatev. We had most excellent seats and McPaddie was front row. She walked, we screamed, and two-and-1/2 hours later we hooked our horns,  sang, “The Eyes of Texas”, and piled out into the Texas heat. Pictures taken all around amidst a throng of other picture takers. My graduate was one happy camper. Another mom moment – proud. Off we went for drinks at the W, very cool. Then Skywalker, the graduate’s fab love muffin, met us at Eddie V‘s for dinner. All great fun, saw the world, including friends we’d gone to UT with. Poob and I left the younger ones at that point; we’d been in graduation mode for 12 hours and it was closing time – for us. This morning, we left Ann with smooches, had a bite with the grad, hugs and smooches all around, and we headed in three different directions.

Three: After – Driving out of Austin for the umpteenth time, I turned up the tunes and pressed the pedal to the metal. But this time, it was different. My oldest has a big life in our home town. The youngest isn’t coming home. They are both amazing. We’ve all experienced a milestone. Listening to the music, tears started falling out of my eyes. Happy, proud, sweet tears mixed with some salty, sentimental mom water. Deep breathing. Nothing is impossible. Life is good. Mysterious, but good.

The Playlist, in no particular order

  • “Raise Your Glass” – Pink
  • “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey
  • “Gimme Shelter”– The Rolling Stones
  • “Stronger” – Glee Cast
  • “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’Roses
  • “Heads Will Roll” – Yeah Yeah Yeah’s
  • “Born This Way”– Lady GaGa
  • Dueling Guitars” – August Rush movie
  • Defying Gravity” – Idina Menzel and Lea Michele
  • On The Floor”Jennifer Lopez with Pitbull
  • Someone Like You” – Adele
  • “Learn To Fly” – Foo Fighters
  • “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynrd
  • “Shout It Out Loud” – KISS
  • “Daughter” – Loudon Wainwright III
  • Mercy” – Duffy
  • “I Was Made To Love Her” – Stevie Wonder
  • “Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley

As for the three-part harmony ……..

Peach, McPaddie, Cita/iz

 “A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart.”

Blessed two times over, I am.

Later.

Is This A Joke?

 

“As a rule, man’s a fool. When it’s hot, he wants cool. And when it’s cool, he wants hot. Always wanting what is not.”

Patience and Contentment.  These two words appear back-to-back on the candles I burned yesterday and today. When I drew patience, I had to laugh. If my mother said it once, she said it 1000 times:  “Patience is a virtue.” A virtue I didn’t ever have until about a year ago. And trust me, I am NOT St. Izzie of Coolville.  Patience about most everything escapes me daily. Experience tells me that stepping back and taking a deep breath or ten is exceedingly less stressful than jumping to conclusions, wearing the floors thin by pacing back and forth, worrying about the 99.9-percent of life that is out of my control. Ok, so patience and I are a work in progress. Rah!

“If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little will be much.” (Hesiod)

Contentment. Don’t seem to hear a lot about that. But I sure like it. My definition, via The Eagles’ song, is “a peaceful, easy feeling”. When I consider the very serious issues my friends and family face on a daily basis, I should be Mayor of Blissed Out. And I do feel contentment much more now. Reality bites enormous chunks out of our collective asses on a regular basis. Victims mourn the loss; survivors heal and move on down the road. Just sayin’.

So, no, patience and contentment in the same sentence would not be a joke. Good for a long brain munch, but no joke. And, damn it all, I WANT to be Patient and Content RIGHT THIS INSTANT or I will be devastated and throw myself in the garbage. JUST KIDDING!

Guilty as charged: I have no patience with purposely dumb. The phrase, “She needs to change her oil filter” flies out of my mouth more often than “thank you“. So, with divine intervention, I will utter, “She needs to clean her lint trap“, less and be more patient will dull blades, content with the fact that people everywhere think I’m dumber than dirt.  And so it goes.

Later.

*Am NOT dumber than dirt about everything, just finances, relationships and that kind of stuff.

Joy … in the morning?

Joy.

That’s the word on the candle I pulled out today. So far, the vibe is very good … laughter, imagination, JOY!

I thought about my recent conversation with a homeless man. He said, “Every day you wake up on this side of the dirt is a good day“. Joy, in various forms, is everywhere; we just can’t see it or feel it sometimes.

So I decided to be joyous about unloading the dishwasher that does not clean the dishes. Piped up the iPod and danced while unloading the unclean dishes into a sink full of soapy water. Dancing makes me happy. My dog thinks I am strange. Feh!

The happy, happy, joy, joy situation lasted right up to the minute after my youngest walked in the door from Austin. She’s home just long enough to pack and head out to California. She is a runner with a bad muscle pull and two half-marathons scheduled for this month. She has not been able to run in two weeks. She is not joyous. But I was happy to see her. She verbally stuck a pin in my joy bubble. “I’m so worried about you. How can candles support you? What is your business plan? Don’t you think you need to go out and get a job and have some income? “

I was speechless – and that’s a first. When I found my words, I’m afraid they were NOT VERY NICE. Am not used to being grilled, especially by my daughter. Apologies were issued all around. When I had a moment to think about it, it occurred to me that her worries for the future fueled her inquisition. Been there, felt that. But what was hardest on her was the fact that I was NOT tearing my hair out and biting my nails down to the quick, gnashing my teeth and wandering about in a state of torment. As if. That would have been my MO in the olden days, but that was then and this is now.

Next time anyone peppers me with a rapid fire of personal questions, family or otherwise, I will pull out my current favorite snark response: “I’m busy now. Can I ignore you some other time?”

Off to focus on JOY, damn it!

Later.

And One To Grow On…

366 Wishes Candle Set/Red Envelope

Happy New Year! The photo above is part of a candle set I wanted for Christmas. Yes, I do have a new candle company and no, I didn’t make up this idea but I love it anyway. When youngest daughter asked for my Christmas wish list, this was on it. So I taped a picture of it to her forehead, sue me. There is an inspirational word on each of the 366 candles. Burn one a day. LOVE. Anyway, yesterday being last year and all, I chose to burn my “extra” to start the new year off just right. I randomly chose “Laughter“.

Laughter, is there anything better? (Yes, I am well aware of other better things, but let’s just stick with laughter here, ok?).  And that was the perfect word for the last evening of the year. A casual dinner with close friends at home and SO MUCH LAUGHTER. And good food, lots of champagne, and dancing all through the house and out into the backyard. My kind of fun. As a matter of fact, I’ve spent many a New Year’s Eve with these same friends and was reminded of an especially eventful one two decades before.

I was 17 months pregnant with baby #2. Nevertheless, I donned a cocktail tent and high heels and we left all the birthed babies with one  babysitter. When we returned to our friends’ home to fetch baby #1, the sight of the poor woman trying to juggle three very miserable babies (mine was literally tied to her back with a dustrag), made me lose control of myself. We started laughing so hysterically and I was so ridiculously pregnant, well … I had a wee accident. It would have been no biggie but Mick kept shooing me off their Oriental rug like I was a bad poodle. Which made me laugh so hard I channeled a racehorse. Not my most dignified moment nor was the rug ever the same. But it was funny. 

I did mind my manners last night. Or not. But no rug accidents. And I’m not pregnant. Or if I am, it IS a miracle AND the Second Coming. Not to change the subject but my contribution to the dinner was Spinach Gratin, recipe by the Barefoot Contessa.  It is a great recipe and I highly recommend it, but you really must love onions – 4 cups of chopped onions in a recipe that says it serves 8? Good grief … my house still smells like Coney Island.

Sorry I am all over the map as I write this. Main thing is – laugh! I thought of a good way to make myself laugh when I am not feeling it. Watch those crazy laughing baby videos on YouTube. Hilarious!

Dying to know what today’s candle is? Imagination. I don’t know what to think. Have to go light my way and see what pops up.

Later.

*It might seem that I was callous toward the feelings of the babysitter in the incident mentioned above. I was. But she was paid handsomely. And it was a long time ago … just sayin’…

If It’s Wednesday, It Must Be Random

I think it’s Wednesday. If it isn’t, don’t tell me. Have been burning the candle at both ends trying to get my new “enterprise” off the ground. Not complaining a minute but … have not had an original thought since … some other day. Have had much interaction with the population outside my front door. Which forces me to the keyboard. I am not smoking crack, snorting rowdy powder, or anything else illegal. Am drinking some serious java. What follows are my thoughts, “rules”, and true stuff that I know today. Wednesday. I think.

Just So You Know

  • If I am your mother, I’m not your friend. If I’m your friend, I’m not your mother. My real name means “truth”; if you ask me for my opinion about your “whatever”, I will tell you the truth as I see it. If you want happily ever after, please see Hans Christian Anderson. If you need to know about your future, please see Dionne Warwick. If you want a candle, please see me.

 

  • How about those “Very Busy People”?  You know, the ones who tell you over and over and over how Very Busy they are? And if you would like an audience with one, it could be in two months for 14 minutes when the moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars. GET OVER YOURSELF! Everyone is busy. What’s that? You want to see me? Oh, so not going to happen because … I’m a VERY BUSY PERSON.

 

 

  • My Cooking Partner, like my dad, believes in rules. For everyone else. They aren’t complete anarchists, they do the stop sign thing and pay taxes. Everything else is debatable. This attitude would be a BIG burr under my saddle. CP is determined to have me incarcerated by my homeowners association. He and my dog, Cooper, are in love. He is great about taking Cooper for a walk. But he refuses to use a leash nor will he scoop le poop. The city has a law about that: all dogs leashed, all poop scooped. But no. He took Coop for a walk the other night and lo and behold, he got the serious stink eye from a neighbor who has nothing to do but issue stink eyes to rule breakers. So now I am spreading joy and glee all about, in hopes I will not be invited to sell my house. Meh!! 
  •  I thought we, as a country, were in a financial pickle. Someone forgot to tell the credit card companies. My daughters receive about three “sign up nows” from credit monsters each week. Dear Slimeball Credit Card Issuers: Pick on people who have a big income and can pay your stupid rates. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES. If you were human. But as the Bank of America mess has shown us, you are computers. Nevermind.

 

  • Note to anyone wanting $ from me (excluding bills as I follow rules and pay them): this ATM is OUT of CASH until further notice. I don’t care if the plane ticket is only $1, the dress is perfection, the wheels fell off your car, you really need a cosmetic procedure and you are afraid to approach anyone in your own family for the dough, you really need a vacation. Call me stupid, but last time I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see a bank.

Rather than lay down any more laws around here, I’ll dash. There are candles to be sold, poop to be scooped, telemarketers to be tortured (I keep a whistle by the phone), and neighbors to be dazzled by the sight of Cooper on a leash. Oh yeah, and a calendar to be consulted so I know what day it is.

 

Later. Maybe.

Letter to My Daughter

Dearest Sweet Pea,

You will always be my baby. When I was pregnant with you, I was fearful. Fearful because I’d already had your sister and I didn’t know how I could love another baby as much as I loved her. Those worries evaporated the moment I first saw you. There is no measure for the love I have for you, my beautiful child.

As you know, this letter has been requested because you will graduate in May. And, as you know, I’m prone to whimsy. With that and this request in mind, I turned around and invited my amazing blogger friends to offer tips and advice for a young woman preparing to make her way in the world. Much of what you read here was graciously offered by these fine people. And so we’re off….

  • If it takes five minutes, do it.
  • Two words:  duct tape.
  • Always keep your eyes on your own paper.
  • Say, “I don’t know” when you don’t.
  • Live BIG. Paint your life with broad strokes using bold colors.
  • Keep your words soft and tender as you will have to eat them sometimes.
  • Don’t dig a debt hole and jump in.
  • You always have a home with me.
  • When you need to scream, go somewhere appropriate and do so.
  • Soon you will soon wake up – not go to bed – at 6 am.
  • You always have a choice, even if it is only a choice of your attitude.
  • If a man tells you that you are too good for him, believe it!
  • Skills to learn: change a tire, unclog a drain, drive a stick shift.
  • Know the difference between spontaneity (good) and impulsivity (not so much).
  • The ground is level. Don’t judge anyone unless you go to law school, pass the bar, get elected, and have a gavel.
  • Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
  • “Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.”
  • Every rule has an exception.
  • Albert Einstein said, “God does not play dice with the universe.” There are no coincidences.
  • You have a million dollar smile. Go to the dentist regularly so you keep it.
  • “Men are like Government Bonds; they take soooooo long to mature.”
  • “Having it all doesn’t mean having it all at once.”
  • Trust your instincts. Period.
  • Always try to be present. And take deep breaths.
  • When you are hungry, eat. When you are tired, sleep.
  • Laugh as much as possible.

Enough for now. You are beautiful, bright, wise and kind, all wrapped up in a unique package of loveliness. Do not fret about the new world you will step into. I assure you, the best is yet to come!

You love me and I love you more. You will understand this when you have your first child. It would be nice if you married beforehand. But not right this minute as the money tree has been reduced to a weed.

Love you to the moon and back, Sweetie.

Mom

P.S. All “borrowed” jewelry, purses, shoes, dresses and anything else I don’t know is missing yet may be returned in June, which we’ll call “Amnesty Month”.

P.P.S. I’m sorry we called you “Cousin It” and “David Letterman” when you were little.

P.P. S. S. Did I tell you how much I love you?

The Text You Don’t Want to Receive

Good grief! Am sitting here, trying to write happy words and my youngest daughter sends me a text:

“Gunman on campus”

“Where are you?”

“In the ___ house. They are searching for him but he was last seen at the PCL (*library behind her house*) A lot of girls heard the gunshots this morning. UT Alert: ARMED SUSPECT LAST SEEN AT PERRY CASTENADA LIBRARY. SHELTER IN PLACE. STAY WHERE YOU ARE. MORE INFORMATION TO FOLLOW”.

Have heard nothing from her since that text 20 minutes ago. Called the ABC affiliate here, talked to the news desk, they told me they just heard he’d shot himself. They wanted my daughter’s contact info. An ABC Newscaster just broke into Good Morning America to begin reporting on the story. The gunman is dead. The area around the library is closed down to all but police. I believe my daughter is safe. But this story shall play out during the day. I don’t think I will exhale until I hear from her … or see her on tv.

Shit.

*Update: now they are looking for second gunman; have not heard from daughter but am not freaking … yet*

Double shit.

*She sent me a text saying she’s ok. At the same time the television was running film of the police unload an armored tank on campus. They have issued an “All Clear”, school is closed, and her area butts up to the crime scene so she won’t be going anywhere today. Good grief.*