A Letter to My Husband

Dear Matt,
I love you.  I love you more than I have ever loved anyone.  But I don’t understand you.

You are so smart, and funny, and thoughtful.  You are a planner, a researcher, a super-reviewer of the details; you are my “go-to” person when I want to know which car to buy, which vacation to take, which restaurant to try — you usually think things through so much that sometimes I think you can get a case of “paralysis of analysis.”

You think about what’s healthy for you.  We buy organic milk and fruits and vegetables.  You avoid OTC medications.  You avoid artificial flavors and sweeteners.  You are a very careful driver, always wearing your seat belt, driving defensively.

I understand all this.  Here’s what I don’t understand:

You, who won’t wear antiperspirant because of the aluminum in it (even though there haven’t been any reported cases of widespread death by antiperspirant), bought a dirt bike this past weekend (even though there have been many reported cases of injury and death by dirt bike).

First 20 Minutes on Bike

I am amazed at what you will do TO your body despite what you won’t PUT IN your body.  Did you know that you are no less vulnerable on the outside than you are on the inside?

And when you had a wreck about 30 minutes after this picture was taken, it was scary just how vulnerable you were.

How Things Could Have Been
source: tim.2wgroup.com

No, this isn’t you.  I stole this picture from the internet.  But it could have been you. And then what would you have done?  Especially without any antiperspirant on underneath all that plaster?

So, Matt, my husband, my love, my soul mate — are you any more cautious with what you will do to your body now than you were before?  Can I mark sky diving, race car driving, diving with Great White Sharks, hang gliding and all those other X-treme hobbies that make my head explode off your To-Do list?
Or am I still destined to not understand?  Either way, I love you.  But I let me know if I need to increase our Flexible Spending in our Health Account next year.

Here’s Your Sign

I got this tweet the other day that said “God Prefers Kind Atheists Over Hateful Christians?” and had this picture attached.

source: http://www.purechristiangraphicdesign.com/god-prefers-kind-atheists-hateful-christians/

I have thought about this a lot since I saw it, trying to decide exactly what I think about it.  And for me, there really isn’t an easy answer.
There are few things that make me more upset than self-professed Christians that act like they don’t even like their fellow humans.  They judge, they ridicule, they hold grudges, they are selfish with their time and material possessions.  They do not act like Christ at all.  These Christians are the ones that inspired Mahatma Gandhi to say

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”

When I think about these people, I wonder how anyone chooses to follow Christ if these people are their example.  I can’t help but think that the God that I have read about in the Bible is very hurt and disappointed by the people who proclaim to believe in Him but act so opposite to His commands.
Back to the sign.  I can’t say that I believe that God prefers people who actively choose not to believe in Him to hateful Christians, as disappointed as He may be.  I would rewrite the sign to read as follows:
God is as hurt by hateful Christians as by atheists
Either one isn’t the path that He would choose for us.
One thing is for sure:  This sign made me think and that is a good thing.

Kindergarten Memories

I met one of my good friends for dinner the other night (*waves* Hi, Nikki!) and one of the things that we talked about was her oldest child starting kindergarten this fall semester.  She’s excited and proud and nervous (about him potentially riding the bus) all at once.

Waking up for the first day of Kindergarten

I started to think about my first day at school, and yes, that included riding the school bus.  Mrs. McConnell was my kindergarten teacher and I remember walking into the school room full of other kids.  Here, I met Marla Miller, Scott Bare, Jimmy Thompson and Lance Shumate.  I remember Marla being the first one to talk and play with me (I was too shy to talk to another kid first myself).  I remember Jimmy Thompson kissing Vicky Barker and being shocked (I was a strict rule follower and kissing definitely didn’t follow the rules of the classroom).

And on the bus home that afternoon, our neighbor’s son, Jamie, who was in 7th grade, took my hand and walked me up the bus aisle and helped me climb off the bus.

Waving “Good-bye” on my first day

Marla, Jimmy, Scott and Lance were friends until we graduated from high school.  With the creation of Facebook, I actually know a lot about what is going on in the lives of many of these same people.  Where they live, what they do for a living, if they have children, even what their children look like.  Kindergarten is definitely a watershed moment in a life.  A great beginning — to make friends that can last for the rest of your life, to begin the journey of learning, to begin the process of your world opening up beyond the confines of your family.  I’m a little jealous that I don’t have any such “big Milestone” moment left in my life.

As I look at these pictures, however, I think that my days are actually not that much different than they were back in kindergarten.  I look pretty much the same when I wake up (no “bright-eyed”, morning person for me).  Then I wave good-bye to Matt and head to work.  Sometimes, though, work feels like spending my day with 5 year olds, fighting for attention and arguing over toys.  “I didn’t do it.  He did it.”  “No, she did it.”  “It wasn’t us.” echo around the halls.  The only thing missing is nap time.  And we aren’t as cute with milk mustaches.

And like in kindergarten, whether I end the day with my name in the column for making good decisions or in the column for being a poopy head is entirely up to me.  I don’t wanna be a poopy head so I’ll do my best not to be.  Unless someone kisses me, then all bets are off.

Hunger Made Me Write This

I have been thinking a lot about food lately.  OK, actually, food is ALL I have been thinking about lately.

I’m in my 40s, and a slow metabolism, gene pool, unhealthy eating and dislike of exercise have caught up with me.  I can no longer ignore the mirror — it’s time to diet.

The breaking point was last week at work.  I was meeting with someone when a late attendee (whom I had never met) walked in, looked around, and asked, “Is this the Weight Watchers meeting?” while making eye contact with me.

While he may have meant it as a joke (A POOR ONE), it was a figurative slap on the fat ass to get my eating habits in order.  So, I joined Weight Watchers.  (That is irony.)

When chubby cheeks were cute

Now I am hungry all the time.  I think about food all the time and my self-esteem isn’t at its highest at the moment.

I worry about my nieces and the images and the pressure that they receive to be skinny in order to be considered beautiful.  Television, movies, magazines, Internet — the list goes on and on.  On a good day, I can almost convince myself that my outside doesn’t decide the kind of person that I am.  On a bad day, I don’t even try to argue that point with myself.

How does a pre-teenage or teenage girl have the ability or maturity to have the same argument?

And as I feel myself getting all outraged about the unrealistic size and beauty expectations placed on women in our society, I feel guilty that I went to see “Magic Mike” this afternoon, a movie that blatantly exploits nice looking men.  Am I being a hypocrite by turning around and gawking at men that don’t look anything like 99% of the men in America?

Screw it.  Those men were hot.  And I think that I burned some calories watching them.  And I didn’t eat any popcorn.  I feel no shame.

Zombie Talk

Matt and I spent the weekend watching a Walking Dead marathon.  So, we’ve spent an enormous time talking about zombies.  Here are just a sample of some of our conversations this weekend.

Conversation #1

me:  I want you to just go ahead and kill me if the zombie apocalypse starts.  I don’t want to be alive for the post-apocalypse stuff.

Matt:  What?  You don’t think that you would have anything to offer the rest of the survivors?

me:  Are you kidding?  I would just be a whiny bitch.

Matt:  Come on.  You’d be able to contribute something.

me:  No, really.  My anti-depressant would run out and then I would just end up wanting to stay in bed all the time and there would be NO air conditioning and then I would really be a bitch.

Matt:  Yeah, that wouldn’t be good for anyone.

Conversation #2

Matt:  I don’t think some of the stuff on the show is very realistic.

me:  Like what?

Matt:  Like the drug stuff.  Like they didn’t take all the drugs from the drug store at once.  When the zombie attack broke out, why didn’t they go to the drug store, and take all the drugs then?  Why would they keep going back to the drug store?  Get it all at once.

me:  True, but there would be stuff that you just know that you won’t use.  Like prenatal vitamins.

Matt:  Yeah, I could see that.

me:  And Viagra.  I would totally skip getting Viagra and Cialis.  I mean, I would be like, “I can’t have him distracted a whole weekend–we got the dead walking around.  He’s got to be concentrating on that.”

Matt:  Good point.

Conversation #3

me:  You know, that one woman on the show supposedly loved her sister sooooo much, but I don’t buy it.  I tell you right now, I love my sister so much that I wouldn’t even let her turn into a zombie before I shot her.

Matt:  That’s sweet.

me:  That’s what I should have written in her birthday card.

Matt:  It isn’t too late.

me:  Yeah it is.  Her birthday was weeks ago.

Matt:  Send her a postscript birthday card.  Tell her that you need to express how much you love her.  “Just wanted you to know that I love you so much that I would shoot you in the head before you could even turn into a zombie”  Happy postscript birthday.

me:  Love, Cristy.

Matt:  That’s love.  I think she would like it.

I think that the conversations above prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that what my mama used to tell me is untrue:  you CANNOT turn your brains to mush by watching TV all the time.  We actually spent the whole weekend watching shows about mushy brains and we are still able to have these well-thought-out, highly articulated conversations.  Mama, you’re forgiven.

100 to Caption This Photo

I hope you didn’t think that I meant $100–I meant 100 chances.  Heck, take a 1000.  We don’t have $100 for such things.  What do you think we are–1%ers?

Matt and I were driving home the other night through downtown Statesville when he pointed out this tree to me.  I had to go back today and take a picture.  I challenge you to a caption-off.

Here are my submissions:

  1. Is that a log in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
  2. Just lookin’ for a knot-hole
  3. Tree in front of Statesville Courthouse
I mean, seriously, don’t you think that grounds people for the county would have noticed and cut this off (an arbor castration, so to speak)?  Or maybe, just maybe, Iredell County has grounds people with the best sense of humor.
So, yes, Matt and I are sometimes inappropriately immature.  (Though I think that might be redundant, since immaturity is almost always inappropriate.)  Scratch that.  Matt and I are sometimes inappropriately immature, but we giggled for several miles about this one.
Well done, grounds men, well done.

$1.50 the First Mile, $0.50 Every Mile After

Matt and I just went into Statesville for some frozen yogurt.  On the way home, a cab turned in front of us onto our road.  We live in the s-t-i-c-k-s (definition of s-t-i-c-k-s here), so a cab is a very unusual sight.  In fact, that was the first cab that I have ever seen in Statesville.

Our conversation as we followed said cab went something like this:

Matt:  I hate to sound mean, but I bet that cab is going to that nasty-ass trailer park.

me:  Why is that mean?  Because you assume that it is picking up someone who lost their license?  Picking up someone that is drunk?  Bringing someone some more beer?

Matt:  I’m pretty sure that cabs won’t bring you beer.

me:  Oh, yeah, they will.  We had one cab in West Jefferson that I remember growing up.  Joe’s Cabs.  And I remember hearing a story about somebody…shit, I can’t remember who…who would call Joe and say “Hey, Joe, would you go by the Backstreet and pick up some beer and bring it to me?”

Matt:  And Joe would?

me:  Well, hell yeah, for money.


Matt:  Wow, he would deliver beer.


me:  In New York City, that’s called “concierge service”.

Matt:  What’s it called in Jefferson?

me:  Joe’s Cabs.

The cab did turn into the nasty-ass trailer park*, but I don’t know if there was any beer delivery or not.

*Disclaimer:  The trailer park is nasty-ass because it’s nasty-ass, not because there are trailers.

A Rotisserie Chicken Led Me Down a Weird Path Tonight

Tonight, I did what many people do on their way home each day and stopped at the grocery store to buy our dinner. And like most people (I think), I changed my mind about what we were eating while walking the aisles.

The rotisserie chickens had just finished cooking and they smelled great.  One chicken to go.

After I got home and started to get the meat off the chicken, all I could think about was one of my favorite books The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls.  If you haven’t read it–GO READ IT NOW!  Anyway, it’s the author’s memoir of how she grew up, in a less than privileged (or safe) environment.  As she recounts some incidents that seem horrible in their neglect, abuse and / or poverty, you sometimes find yourself laughing with her at the absurdity of the situations.

One of my favorite quotes from the book comes when she is telling about the time she is invited over to another girl’s house.  The girl was the daughter of the “town whore”, Ginnie Sue.  Jeannette couldn’t pass up the invitation to see inside a whore’s house, so she gladly accepts the invitation.

The house wasn’t gaudy like she expected, but she was thrilled to see a big, cooked chicken on the table.  Ginnie Sue asks Jeannette if she knows how to pick a chicken clean and Jeannette assures her that she can.  And her chicken-picking skills impress Ginnie Sue because she tells her that is the best chicken-picking she’s ever seen.

Jeannette spent a lot of her childhood hungry, so the important lesson she took away from her day at Ginnie Sue’s house is one of my favorite quotes:  “One thing about whoring:  It put chicken on the table.”

So, naturally, as I’m up to my elbows in rotisserie chicken, all I can think about is “One thing about whoring….”

And unlike Jeannette, I can’t pick a chicken clean.  Exhibit A:

Chicken as picked as it will get 

I don’t think that is a skill that I ever learned.  And I’m OK with that.

There are lots of things that I saw my grandmothers and mom do, however, (like chicken-picking….you knew that I would get to my point eventually) that I wish that I knew how to do and I wonder if it’s too late.  For example:

  1. Make biscuits using Crisco
  2. Quilt
  3. Can vegetables
  4. Sew on a sewing machine
None of these things are necessary to daily life, I know this, but I think that I would feel a little more connected to the generations that came before me if I could do these things.
And I would be more prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse.

I Once Was Blind, But Now I See..

One of my favorite hymns is “Amazing Grace”.  I love the lyrics.  There is the simplicity in the message that grace is at the root of all that I have been given, but also profoundness in that grace is “sweet” like a sound, can bring me fear, but also calm my fears, and grace can “lead me home.”  And one of my favorite lines in the song is in the first stanza “…was blind, but now I see.”

I can’t imagine being blind, but whenever I sing this line or listen to it sung, I always think about the wonder and amazement someone would have to feelfrom going from darkness to light.  What are the emotions that would tumble over themselves as the world went from this

to this:
I think that I would feel like I was a different person, living in a different world.

I while I haven’t literally had my eyesight restored, I feel like I am now a seeing person, where I was once stumbling around blind.

I am not in the depths of depression.

Over the last four months, I have been pulling, clawing, scrabbling, hauling myself out of a pit so deep, black was all I could see.  And for the last two of the four months, life has been different — brighter, lighter, freer — dare I say, more fun?

This disease with which I live is a monster, a lying, cold-hearted, selfish disease that has demanded all my energy and attention for many years of my life.  I’m not sure when I first knew that I suffered from depression, but I don’t ever remember not being plagued by some of the symptoms of depression, even as a little girl in elementary school.  My ability to manage it and live “depression-free” has varied through the years.  And my ego has played a role in self-delusion that “I have it under control.”

The last thing that I had under control during the past three years was my depression.  It was firmly in control–but nobody had yet admitted it.  So, like a puppet regime, I went through the days like I was in charge, maybe fooling no one but myself.  Maybe fooling everyone.  Only those close to me can answer if they were more aware of my condition than I was.

And that is one of the scary, lying, dangerous games that depression plays with you — it’s those mind games she pulls on her victims all the time.  One minute you KNOW you are on top of your game; the next minute, you’re questioning if you’re competent enough to place your own order at McDonald’s.

But this blog isn’t about reliving the deep valleys that were landscape of my illness, but to recognize and celebrate the joy that I CAN and DO feel now.  The happy moments that I CAN and DO appreciate daily.  The accomplishments that I CAN and DO take pride in and feel worthy of.

My God has a salvation plan for me that extends beyond this life.  I believe this.  My God has also given me a wonderful gift during this life, however, to feel the awesomeness (I just can’t think of a better word) of feeling blind, but finding sight.