Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Caught Jammin

I had psyched myself up all week for a night of dancing.  Rarely do I plan ahead, but last week I had concert tickets, a sitter, an outfit and I was looking forward to Saturday night.

About 4 hours 'till go time, a text from the sitter left me more than a little deflated. And after about 15 'sorry but no's' from the babysitting co-op, backup sitters and even neighbors, I realized it was not to be.

Not wanting to make it a complete waste, I hit a sacrifice bunt and allowed my husband to invite a friend in return for an hour of 'me time' out of the house while he put the kids down.

So... where to go? Saturday night? The world's my oyster.  My favorite bar? A coffee shop with my Kindle? The mall for some retail therapy? I pondered these ideas as my car drove itself to The Container Store.  sigh. I felt like Will Ferrell in Old School.

Like I said, I was psyched up for dancing and, I must admit, the soundtrack at the Container Store was bumpin' (is that a phrase anymore? was it ever?)

So as I pondered the inspirationally large variety of sink-side sponge holders, 'Forget You' by Cee Lo Green comes on and I allow my head just a little nod action. The music picks up and the shoulders and hips just start moving and before I know it, the lip is bit and I'm in it. Shoot, its Saturday Night there isn't another soul here right? I'm in full on 'get is squirrel' mode and about half a beat from spanking my own ass when my eye catches the movement across my aisle.

Craptastic. But he kept walking right on by. Until he walked backward and stared straight at me.

"It's a hot song."

His grin put me at ease.

"It is!" probably a little too enthusiastically. "I wasn't sure you caught me."

"It's cool though, I was doing the same thing... just in my head."

"Well get out of your head and boogie it down with me in the kitchen storage aisle."  I said in my head, and luckily only in my head. cuz that would've been weird right? did I miss an opportunity there? no that would've been weird. moving on.

We proceeded to have a pleasant conversation about Cee Lo's start in the Goodie Mob (here's Cell Therapy for your enjoyment).  He guessed, by my looks that I knew more about Cee Lo's role in GLEE, and The Voice... he was right but I promised him I would youtube Goodie Mob and Dirty South movement when I got home. And we both went dancing on our way.

Now, I'm not sure if the conversation necessarily changed my life.  Goodie Mob is not part of my ipod collection and I'm no different than I was before walking into the Container Store. But, I do know that that interaction made me smile all the way home and let me give Rob a genuinely happy send off so he could genuinely enjoy the concert, etc. etc. And I know that if I hadn't been dancing, the encounter wouldn't have happened and happiness wouldn't have ensued.

I think dancing, in essence, tells people that you are open, you are happy and most of all you are a little vulnerable... which is such a good thing. When you admit openly that you're vulnerable, you aren't in a place to judge or look down, you are just grateful for what you have and hopeful that the good in life will continue.

I think we should all dance, all the freaking time.  Dance off your blues.  Dance in church. Dance with your love. Dance diggity dance dance dance.

To get you started, here's a pop, here's an Abba and here's a safety dance.

Speaking of Safety Dance, you really need to check out that video. AWESOME. and, on another safety dance issue, I used to think the lyric, 'if they don't dance, then they're no friend of mine' was kind of harsh... but ya know what. Now I dig it. So you're on notice, friends and friends of friends.

thanks for reading. now go dance! betcha meet someone fun at the very least, betcha make someone smile!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

50 Shades of White

Wow, I sighed. Biting my lip, I stared at the bed and the enormous mound before me. How did I let this go for so long, I asked myself. 

I stared down at my hands.

“Stop fidgeting.”

I jumped a mile high and snapped to attention... ‘who said that?’

“ROB... ROOOBBB,” I screamed to my husband rushing out the door of my bedroom.

“What?” He sprinted up the steps two at a time. “what’s wrong?”

“I think someone is in our room... I heard someone say like, ‘stop fidgeting,’ or something like that.”

He eyed me, dubious, but went into the bedroom for an extensive search. The closet, the shower, under the bed and out the window, he left no corner unchecked as I snuck closer into the room my feelings shifting from fear, to humility. 

My cheeks flushed. “Sorry honey, I swore I heard something.”

“No problem... what are you working on anyway?” He asked, hopeful. 

“The laundry.” I answered his prayer. “I’m sorry I let it go on so long. I’m done with my book now though and swear I will get this all under control tonight!”

He smiled, “no problem,” he breathed, though I could sense the relief in his voice.  He is so patient with me...

I shut the door behind him and turned the TV on to keep my imagination at bay.  Dance Moms, perfect, I thought. It is just fine as background noise but not interesting enough that it will keep me from concentrating on my project at hand. 

I turned back to the pile on the bed.  “Hmm, it looks even bigger than a second ago,” I mused to myself. 

“That’s what she said.”

I stopped dead in my tracks again and looked around but quickly dismissed it and turned up the television. 

I sighed heavily and tried to let my mind relax to the sound of harpy helicopter moms screeching about their under-appreciated brilliantly twirling daughters as I grabbed a T-Shirt and began folding. 

His folded clothes to the left of the bed, mine to the right, kids in their baskets at my feet and the wrinkled tangled mountain still untouched, dead center.  After about 20 minutes I gave myself a mental break to peek at the hotly debated team routine. The 9 year old got the lead dancing part over the 11 year old even though the 11 year old much better fit the part of a ‘harlot in need’ which happened to be the emotional motivation for the principal dancer in this piece.  Finding it hard to look away at the beauty that was at once a train wreck and an affirmation that I am clearly not the worst mother in the world, I scooted the pile of clothes back an inch and rested one finely sculpted butt cheek on the edge of the bed. 

Something seemed to purr beneath me. I shoved the clothes further over to make sure I wasn’t sitting on a phone or something, but never looked away from the screen. 

A movement in the edge of my periphery vision made my heart stop. I slowly turned to my left and saw that all of the clothes from Rob’s pile had unfolded themselves and shuffled back into the pile. Pinching myself, I stood. My heart leapt to my throat blocking all breath as, one by one, each of the piles of folded clothes became not so. 

And there it was again. Low, wanting, knowing, a voice that conveyed pain and confidence with just two words, “hiyas baby.”

My mouth formed a perfect but silent ‘O’ as I tried to scream for my husband again.  My brain told my feet to stamp, to run, anything, but they stayed resolutely glued in place.

Shifting, sashaying and finally lifting from the fray came the owner of the voice. A white Brooks Brothers 100% Cotton No Iron button down. And it was so white... 50 shades whiter than any shirt I had ever seen.  The way it hung around the air with nothing under it scared me, but excited me... down there.

I instinctively reached my hand out, slowly and retracted it still unable to find my breath, let alone words.

“Its been a rough week for me.” The sleeve reached to the collar, oh the way it reached to the collar. “Over and over, you brought me here, to your bed, only to shove me away to a basket again at nightfall.  Every time your delicate fingers curled around the binding of your Kindle I dreamed they were touching, folding me. You have no idea how sexy you are... do you?”

I bit my lip.  Immediately something flapped against my thigh and said something unintelligible. 

“The underwear says not to bite your lip or they’ll whack you again.”
I took a cautious step back but the shirt’s left sleeve reached out and wrapped itself around my right wrist. 
“Where you think you’re going baby?”

“Hey I just met you. And, this is... crazy.”

“Crazy,” purred the mouthless voice, “or exciting?” 

I bit my lip again.

thwack  “cắn môi của bạn!”

thwack “cắn môi của bạn!”

thwack “cắn môi của bạn!”

“OWWW what the hell is the underwear’s problem? And why are they screaming at me in Chinese?”

SMACK. this time the sleeve’s right cuff slapped me across the cheek leaving a visible scratch from the button. “Stop biting your lip! and,” SMACK this time across the jaw. “it’s Vietnamese you racist, that’s where they were born.”

My hand shot up to my aching face. “RED,” I screamed at him. 

He stopped short.

“That’s right, you bastard, I swear to God I’ll launder you in hot water with something RED if you don’t stop.”

“Then,” he choked, “I’ll probably never see you again.”

“Yes.” I sobbed too. I hoped he would listen to me, this has been the most exhilarating laundry folding 10 minutes of my life. It was already clear I couldn’t live without seeing where he could take me. 

He flushed. I blushed. My eyes widened. “I’m sorry.” I gasped. 

I waited to see if he would forgive me. 

“Hiyas Baby,” He said again, which didn’t totally make sense to me, but I figured it meant he forgave me so I was excited again. down there.

His sleeve caressed my swollen cheek and he ordered some socks to rub my head. My blood sang in my veins. I looked down and saw some khaki shorts and was hurt when there seemed to be no action taken by them. 

My fifty shades whiter eyed me curiously.  Then, like he could read my mind, said, “that’s a common misconception. Pants aren’t alive like you or me.”

I rolled my eyes at my own silliness. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a tie fly toward me, but shirt put himself between us just in time. 

“The ties fucking hate it when you roll your eyes.  Really, they’ll hang you. Don’t do it again.”

Maybe I should have been scared but I was just so excited.

“Tell me what you want me to do to you,” the voice smelled like ambrosia in my ear.

“jeez.”  I looked him up and down. “umm... “

“tell me,” he begged.

I didn’t know what to say, I was so new to all this but my body was alive in ways I never knew it could be. Blood was rushing in muscles I didn’t know I had.
“Cuff Me” I screamed without knowing what I was saying. 


“ummm, with your cuff, I mean... I... ”

His collar was against my neck. I was confused and excited. But I also had no idea what the hell he could actually do for me. 

“TELL ME,” he demanded. His starch got stiffer and he turned about 12 shades less white.

“uuhhh... shirttail me?” I asked, meekly. 

Again, silence.  Fuck, should I have pretended like he was a guy and not a shirt? did I offend him? I bit my lip again and rolled my eyes while gasping and blushing. mistake.

I screamed as ten thousand pieces of clothing rushed me at once. “Mandy,” I heard the voice but it was lost as I was being pushed back onto the bed by millions of determined threads of cotton. 

It’s too late, I thought to myself.  I may never see my fifty shades whiter again.

“Mandy,” the voice was clearer. Clothes were being thrown across the room and a face appeared.  Not like a pretend one on a shirt... the actual face of my loving husband. 

“Seriously? What the Hell are you doing?”  He did not look amused... not even darkly amused. 

“ummm laundry?”

“you should seriously see a doctor.” He gave me a final odd look before marching back out of the room. 

The room was quiet except for the bitching dance moms that had turned into bitching pageant moms.

I rolled my eyes and flushed at my overactive imagination, vowing never to read something so base again.

Something moved. I smiled.  Oh, my fifty...

the end?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oh, Mr. Akin...

Guys are dumb. Not dumb... simple. But that's also what makes them great... I was explaining as much to my husband when we were watching The Land Before Time (click here for preview).  The movie is awesome but war is stupid. And one of the few times a little bit of Femminazi comes out in me is when I get so worked up about the amount of wars humanity has endured... and come to the conclusion that men are often dumb.

Anyway I was thinking about Mr. Akin's comments on rape... legitimate rape, the possibility of getting pregnant, etc. And the first thing that came to mind was the Female Power onslaught that was about to take place on FB.  And did it ever... Open letters to Mr. Akin from rape victims, diagrams of a women's reproductive system complete with 'anti-rape' measures, insistence that even though both Romney and Ryan said Akin should step down... that the whole GOP agrees with Akin.

What Akin said is horrible, thoughtless, and more than anything else... just dumb. In no way should rape be politicized for one side or another. Could you imagine if a woman had to fill out paperwork to prove her rape was 'legit?' I get headaches from all the paperwork I have to fill out to get my kid in preschool.

Rape is rape and its terrifying and cruel and can be life shattering, with or without a pregnancy and/or disease and/or irreparable mental or physical damage that may accompany it.

The problem that I have with all this though is that this dumb and demeaning comment came up during yet another abortion debate. So now... once again, people will try to lump together people who are pro-life with people who want to interrogate women who are raped to see if said rape was 'legit.'

And, again, that is stupid.

I am pro-life but I personally want the legality of abortion issue to be taken off the shelf as a political topic for a few years. I know... my pro-life friends will remind me that all the while, babies are perishing. But it is so omnipresent that it seems that little thought goes into it by many people and instead people pick a side and use the one-liner that best suits them.  Whether it is:

"abortion is murder."

"no one should be able to legislate a woman's body."


"I believe its a life, but I don't feel comfortable telling other people what to do with their bodies."

The third of which is the most cowardly and dumb and often said by males who are scared to ruffle any feathers of the finer sex.

The first two... I believe at least both have points.  But maybe if we took it off the table for a little while, could we pretend that the issue is not so black and white?

If one side stopped trying to make it illegal, could the other side stop saying its a right?

If one side stopped saying how dangerous it could be for the woman, could the other side stop insinuating that it's easier than pregnancy?

If one side stopped saying its a religious issue, could the other stop saying its a privacy issue?  (maybe we could focus on it being a medical issue?)

Mostly, if one side stopped pretending they knew exactly when 'life' begins... could the other side also stop pretending they know exactly when 'life' begins?

We defensively hurl paper bombs filled with worn cliches at one another.  Do we really need sides on this one? Rape is awful and evil we can all agree on that. Can't we all agree also that abortion is pretty terrible too and start the conversation from a place of compassion and genuine willingness to do right by each other?  But that can't happen until the water settles a little.

So, I'm done... we should all sit back and watch The Land that Time Forgot! especially since it gives us the secret of evolution (spoiler alert: apparently it all started with women having a bath in a huge egg tub... I'm still a little confused by it all)

Until you get your own copy (its on TCM on Demand right now) Here's an awesome dino attack scene!!

Hope you have a lovely day,

thanks for reading...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Morning has Broken

One winter morning last year, I was running late taking my daughter to Kindergarten.  I was praying I would make carpool as I desperately did not want to walk her into the school office wearing pajamas with no bra, and gold heels.  Yes, stilettos actually... they were by the door, and yes that might have something to do with why we were running late...


My son got sick in the middle of the night and I was going to have to call the preschool and then the doctor and reschedule my dentist appointment for the 3rd time.

As I zipped out of our neighborhood, my daughter explained in much detail how if I had just let her wear her aquasocks to school then we wouldn't be so late. When it dawned on me that I also forgot her lunch, I decided to drown everything out with the radio.

Pouring through the speakers came 'Morning has Broken,' by Cat Stevens and unexpected tears blurred my vision as I heard the lyric 'has broken' to mean 'has been destroyed.'  With one small twist of a word, every following lyric changed- from hopeful to hopeless and from glorified to dejected.

How quickly and easily one small shift can change an entire perspective. What had once been one of my favorite songs that lifted my spirit,  had now become the anthem for my depression.  The promise of a fresh start each morning transformed into the pain of another repetitive day.

"Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird."  Praise and joy because of the constant world of love and wonder we have been given; turned to, no point in trying, things will never change.

I just made carpool that morning and proceeded to pull off to the side of the road a couple blocks away to catch my breath. I could've cried and dwelled and headed straight into sorry-for-myself-ville. And maybe I would've if I hadn't gotten a text from my husband, "Jay threw up, not cleaning it, I'm in my suit. please hurry."

Sigh. Maybe morning had broken... but I didn't have the choice of getting a new one.  So I turned on madonna, stopped for a coffee and went on with the day.

Life is how you perceive it and what you choose to do with those perceptions.  I used to keep a poem in my day planner through high school and college to remind me of that. Somewhere along the way I lost it but after this particular winter morning, I found it again:

This is the beginning of a new day. 
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use if for good
and grow in its light.
What I do today is important, because
I'm exchanging  a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes,
this day will be gone forever,
I hope I shall not regret
the price I paid for it.
Author unknown

If you ever find yourself in a rut or dreading the morning I hope this may help you too.

Meanwhile, I hope you always anticipate sunrise, spring and every new beginning with hope and elation!

thanks for reading,

Friday, August 17, 2012

Wake Up

How many times have I promised that I would be different? Whether it is weight loss, drinking less beer, being a better wife/mom/friend or keeping the laundry at bay, time and again I start with fervor only to find myself a failure, promising to try harder next time, and googling the phrase "motivate me!"

When I am really low, I find myself turning more earnestly to God for help. Now... as you'll find out if you stick around, I have an ever evolving relationship with God. 

Lately, it's been not great... my fault of course. Its gotten to where I'm almost embarrassed to pray. It's like He's the cashier at the corner drugstore whom I used to buy cigarettes from religiously... till I quit. Then, when I come back, He welcomes me with open arms and with playful banter about a stressful week I buy a pack. Then I quit, then I buy, then I quit and it gets so ridiculous that I just have to switch drugstores all together.  Except, I've found its difficult to change Gods... that is, if you only believe in one, which happens to be the number I believe in. 

But I don't think I realized how far off I felt until my terrifying dream last night. I died. That part is not abnormal for me, I often die in my sleep... have you ever died? I heard the rumor that you don't because then you'd die in real life or something like that... but I have often died... felt my soul leave my body and all... am I alone here? 

Anyway, I died in a plane crash (first time I went that way) and I didn't feel a thing. In fact, as I rose into the air, I thought I was still in the plane.  But, as I noticed only air was around me, a feeling began to permeate my being and I talked about it, out loud. "I feel an incredible sense of peace and love," and though I can't properly describe or recreate the feeling, I know I felt it in my dream as clearly and tangibly as I feel the keys beneath my fingers now.

But something wasn't right. "And," I continued... "apprehension." and the word itself was like a bullet through wings and my being plummeted. I knew where I was going. As I crashed through the earth, I reached up my right arm in desperation and sang through choked sobs, "To you, Yahweh, I lift up my soul, Oh my God" If you don't know the song, click here... it is beautiful.  I can't tell you the last time I heard it, but in my dream I knew the words, I knew the tune and I hoped that it was my last chance at salvation.

I honestly felt, upon waking, that if I died that night, I may not have a chance at Heaven... whatever it may be.
I was, I am, shaken to the core.

When its gotten so bad that I feel embarrassed to turn back to God and I'm dreaming about going to Hell, I know that its well past time to do something drastically different in my life.

So... as part of holding myself accountable, I'm putting myself out there in the form of this blog. Oh, I can hear your sarcasm... 'you need to alter your life so you... blog?' I understand... I have often labeled bloggers as egocentric wannabe writers who need other people's approval.  And yet... I've always kind of admired them too.  There is comfort in shared stories, and I believe there is growth through discourse.

And there's always been a little needle in my brain digging, insisting that I wanted to give it a go.  So, as another part of trying to live a better life I'm going to start paying attention to those little bugs that won't go away... because maybe, just maybe it's God trying to show me a path.

I don't know if this is the answer. I don't know what the question is... 42? And I definitely don't know where this is going to go. I promise it won't always be this heavy but that's about all I can promise.  I would love to hear from other people now and then... but I'll try not to bug you too much about it.

Thanks for reading,