Thursday, July 19, 2012

Heart-shaped sabatoge

I remember it like it was yesterday.

My high school boyfriend-at-the-time and my mom gleefully spreading the seeds around the corner of the backyard. He pointed at the lattice we had mounted to the side of our house.

"It'll just climb right up the lattice," he told her. "We have them at my house too. They're super-easy to grow."

When the morning glory ivy started coming in, climbing and twisting itself up the lattice, covering the small backyard wall in heart-shaped leaves and deep purple flowers, my mom and I were delighted. He was right! They did indeed climb!

And they were heart-shaped! And my favorite color! How sweet was he to plant these in my backyard for me? It was a reminder of him every time I saw them.

But I'm starting to remember it differently.

Because it's a decade later now. The lattice is gone, and I own the house with another man. (You know, that one I married?)


They're not pretty anymore either, no. They find anything and everything they can get their slimy little ivy tentacles on (Fences! Bricks! Other plants! DirecTV cables! The dog, if she sits there long enough!), clinging and wrapping and hanging on for dear life. Which I don't even think they need to worry about because I'M PRETTY SURE THEY HAVE SOME KIND OF DEAL WITH SATAN INVOLVING ETERNAL LIFE IN MY BACKYARD.

I'm racking my brain through that memory, trying to recall a scheming look across the high school boyfriend's face as he tossed the SEEDS OF DOOM around, some indication that he was psychically aware that he and I would eventually break up and I would marry someone else and be STUCK WITH THESE MORNING GLORIES FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.

(Apparently his psychic powers overlooked the part where our breakup was quite amicable.)

No, this was no act of love. The heart-shaped flowers were a cover for the SABOTAGE and EVIL that he was unleashing on Future Mandy, who now spends several hours every few months cutting and pulling and spraying and shrieking every 6.5 minutes when imaginary geckos run up her leg and CURSING THESE #$%&*^ HEART-SHAPED LEAVES that have a root system ending in the backyard of some very nice Chinese family, I'm sure.

So, he was right. They are super-easy to grow.

What he didn't tell us, however, was that they are definitely not super-easy to break up with.

Well-played, ex-boyfriend. Well-played.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Some wisdom from the weekend

  • The best things in life may be free, but the free Kindle books in life definitely the worst.
  • If the lady with whom you have a makeup appointment looks like a circus clown, she will probably make you look like a circus clown too.
  • If not a circus clown, definitely like somebody who has been punched in the face.
  • When it comes to real food, what looks healthy may not be healthy. What seems unhealthy may actually be healthy. Ingredient lists, ingredient lists, ingredient lists!
  • Never book flights with stops. Nonstop American Airlines flights only. Otherwise you will get stranded in Indiana overnight when your first flight is delayed thereby making you miss your connection. (But at least you'll get to see your buddy that way!)
  • If you can't find a knife, you can use a hammerfist.
  • Sometimes letting a four-year-old unroll an entire roll of paper towels, one square at a time, to "clean" the floor (and also her knee for some reason), is totally worth the 99 cents and the wastefulness.
  • You can still lock yourself in a bathroom, even if there are no doorknobs on the door.
  • When you find yourself locked in your friends' bathroom in the middle of the night, on the complete opposite side of the house from where they are asleep, you will realize that you wish you had brought your phone with you into the bathroom.
  • To recap: take your phone with you into the bathroom.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

You can't Photoshop moments like this

Everyone does it, I think. Especially us women-folk.

The first reaction to a photo that you're in.

My hair is weird. I look so tired. My butt looks huge. My face is all broken out.

I have been going through Ellyn's wedding pictures because Amie (who I might link to if she ever bothered blogging) left me copies of them before we parted. (She did a beautiful job, by the way). 

 I asked Amie to send a picture that I knew Ron took of me, CandyEllyn, and Amie (who I might link to if she ever bothered blogging). After Sara died, the four of us and Alece started a GroupMe group so chat so as to stop Twitter-bombing everyone's feeds. We are basically in constant communication, texting throughout the day and night with probably the most random and ridiculous assortment of conversations you could possibly imagine.

These are some of my very favorite people. And they all live so far away.

So although Alece and Sara couldn't be there, this is the closest to "the whole group" we had ever had in one place. I don't remember many other times where I felt as giddy, as happy, as fulfilled, as right, as when all four of us were in the same room together. So when Amie sent the photo this morning, I got all the warm fuzzies I had when it was taken.

Three of my favorite people in the world. And I actually got to be in the same room with them for a little while.

Of course, as soon as Amie posted it, Candy said "Man, I look well traveled." And then Amie said "I look squished. I should have turned." I immediately told them to shut up and then posted a passive-aggressive tweet about them, because that's how I roll.

(Side note: as I was writing this very blog post, Ellyn complained about herself in another photo. I swear, these people.)

But honestly, I get it. The first thing I looked for in the photos of me was the infamous arm/boob fat that comes along with strapless dresses.

I'm not going to lie, I will probably Photoshop my arm a little bit at some point.

(Now that your wedding is over, Ellyn, I can tell you that I hate wearing strapless dresses, which is a testament to how much I love you to have worn that bridesmaid dress.)

I have spent the last 10 months, and will probably spend the rest of my life, kicking myself for not having jumped in the car and driven 12 hours to Iowa, even if I had to do it alone instead of with the two sickies. If I had a picture of myself sitting next to Sara on her bed instead of next to her on a Skype screen? I don't care how crappy I looked; I would cherish it. 

The fact that I have a photo of three of my favorite people in the same room is important to me. Of COURSE I can find my flaws in every one of these photos, but the moment wins over the flaws.

After all, you can Photoshop your flaws out, but you certainly can't Photoshop the moments in.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Every time you're hurt there's one who has it worse around

I live in a world where I have the kinds of friends I can say anything to without feeling the least bit awkward about it. Because they already know all my secrets.

I live in a world where I can fly across the country and expect to enter my friend's house feeling completely comfortable together - no adaptation time necessary.

And I live in a world where somebody is waiting for me to come back home to him.

I live in a world where my toes are turquoise and my job is flexible and Dr. Horrible is always available on Netflix and my dog is obedient and I am loved.

It doesn't matter what else goes on in my world; there is ALWAYS more good than bad.

Being with these people always reminds me of that.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A cheery Independence Day post about sin and homosexuality

I have friends who keep me in line when I'm not doing what I should be. Friends who call me on my crap and don't allow me to choose sin without speaking up, without being hard on me.

I appreciate friends like that. I'm visiting a friend like that now, actually.

Christians need other Christians to point out sin. No doubt about that.

However, there's a big difference between calling out sin in someone you have a close relationship with, and calling out sin in a stranger.

Maybe because it's Independence Day and I'm oh-so-patriotic (see also: my toes are painted red, white and blue), I have been thinking about just how nasty we are to each other here in the good old U.S. of A. I wonder whether, when the founding fathers set up this democratic system of ours, they envisioned just about every single political discussion escalating into vile, hateful "shouting matches" on Facebook or in the comment sections of blogs. I wonder if they envisioned our options coming down to two choices - one extreme or the other, in which discussions and attempts at gaining understanding from one another are utterly futile. I wonder if they envisioned the idea of freedom of religion being ignored when it wasn't convenient for one group or another.

I wonder if they envisioned people accusing others of sin (religion) as a means to keep them in their place (in government).

(Speck, meet log.)

From a Christian perspective, wait, no, I'm sorry, a Biblical perspective (there seems to be a difference), there is so much wrong with this attitude. And yet "Christians" are the ones charging after groups who behave outside their belief systems in an effort to keep them down.

Does the Bible say that performing homosexual acts is a sin? Absolutely. Then again, so is premarital sex, gluttony, stealing (that includes music, guys), not submitting to your husband, idol worship (iPhone, anyone?), lying, having a tattoo, coveting... Do I need to go on?

What we seem to forget here is that is that it's not always our place to point out sin. Just because I am that person for somebody does not mean I am that person for everybody. Know what IS always our place? Serving and loving others, regardless of their beliefs, lifestyles, or choices.

That sounds a lot like some guy I know... Oh yeah, Jesus. Didn't he spend a lot more time with sinners than he did with legalistic Pharisees? And, uh, didn't he have kind of a big problem with said legalism?

When it comes down to it, I am confident that one sin is not worse than another. We're all sinners. Fall short of the glory of God. You know the drill.

So the next time we are fighting over our supposed American "rights," let's remember that we don't deserve the right to anything. That is a distinctly American idea and honestly it's made us entitled, spoiled, dissatisfied, tantrum-throwing children.

What we deserve is death. Separation from our Father because we haven't earned a thing.

We don't have a right to anything we're given.

And that includes the right to judge the things that God is in charge of.


I chose not to discuss my ideal solution to the "gay marriage problem," because Andrew March explains it perfectly here, if you're interested.. As you've probably gathered, government mixed with religion just doesn't float my boat.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

If mentioning tortilla presses makes good blog posts, this one is great.

It seems that living life has been getting in the way of documenting it, though I can't quite pinpoint what to document at the moment. I mean, we've been traveling every single weekend forever and ever amen, but who doesn't do that?

(To recap, January was Colorado, February was Houston, March was Vegas, April was Colorado again and College Station, May was San Antonio, June was Colorado AGAIN and Little Rock, July (tomorrow!) is Indiana, August is San Fransisco, and October is Orlando.)

(I am SO NOT complaining about that. I love traveling, and could not be more glad to be fully taking advantage of this time in our lives in which freedom exceeds responsibility (see also: CHILDLESS!) It's just, that's what going on with us right now.)

A few weekends ago, in yet another hotel, Jack looked at me and mused "I wonder what our house is like on Saturdays."

Fortunately, most of these trips are so much fun, and though most are taekwondo (read: work!) related, it's still really nice for Jack and I to get away together. We tend not to have any "normal" time together anymore. He is always working, whether from home or work, and if he's working, I'm probably working too.

So I've probably missed documenting little things, or maybe little things haven't been happening because we're not together all the time. As always, an efficient means of catching up on all the inane things I usually blog about is, you guessed it - bullet point post!

  • I'd like to start this bullet-point post by saying that the new Train CD is fantastic. You should probably buy it immediately.

  • And while you're buying things immediately, also buy this, this, and this

  • Jack won second in the world in weapons last weekend at World Championships (he actually tied for first and lost the tie-breaker), and then at the new season's competition he won second in forms, second in forms, and third in combat weapons sparring. 

  • You know, the usual, right? Everybody's husband is a big winner, right? Right? (Well, mine is.)

  • In case you're not familiar with combat weapons sparring, picture, if you will, two competitors holding big padded sticks, and then using said sticks to BEAT THE EVER LIVING CRAP OUT OF EACH OTHER.

  • Jack finds it really, really fun. As evidenced by the fact that he is usually smiling during the entire match.

  • Fun fact: in that video I just linked to after randomly searching for a combat weapons competition on YouTube, one of the judges is one of Jack's best friends. We call our guest room "TJ's room," because he stays with us every time he comes into town, and also he never, ever throws up, no matter how much he drinks, which means that he and I get along very, very well.

  • I stumbled upon this blog about real food, and that plus my friend Candy convinced me to try it. Real food. No preservatives. No boxed stuff. Basically everything from scratch. It sounds like a lot of work, and I guess on some level it is, but I feel like the benefits outweigh the work. Plus if you plan ahead it really isn't different than normal cooking. And fresh food? Um, lots better. I made homemade whole wheat hamburger buns and tortillas, plus granola and all kinds of other good stuff this week. There's nothing like fresh-from-the-oven bread. 

  • I also got a tortilla press! Haven't tried it yet but I am very, very excited.

  • It's the small things. (See also, my life is kind of small.)

  • Jack, upon hearing the news that I would be cutting out processed foods/white flour/refined sugar from my cooking (for the most part - I'm still having some trouble getting rid of all refined sugar in sweet baking), was VERY UNHAPPY.

  • Jack, upon eating this week's meals, was VERY HAPPY. Or at least, very happy in relation to how much he thought he was going to hate it.

  • I lost a grey striped tank top, a turquoise cardi, some black shorts, and a pair of blue underpants. That's nearly a whole outfit! I mean, sheesh. 

  • If you see them, please text me.

  • How do I lose clothes so often? I am not nearly slutty enough to lose this many articles of clothing this often.

  • We are FINALLY getting landscaping! The landscaper already drew a pretty pretty picture of everything they're going to plant and I am SO DARN EXCITED that we will no longer be the white-trash house in the neighborhood. They'll put it in in the next week or two.

  • Sadly, no sunflowers in the plans. But I suppose that's okay. I do get hydrangeas and roses and crepe myrtles and all kinds of other pretty stuff.

  • They did already put in a sprinkler system though! Maybe I'll kill less plants now. Fingers crossed.

  • I'm leaving for the airport in less than 14 hours and still haven't finished my laundry or started packing. So, I guess I should do that. I also still have to hem my bridesmaid dress tonight. Yeah. Haven't done that quite yet. 

  • Don't tell Ellyn.