a funny thing happened on the way to my life….

10 Things You Don’t Know About Me (A Response to the Facebook Numbers Post)

Every once in a while Often, I wish that Facebook had a dislike button. I would use it. I honestly consider myself to be a nice person, but when those little posts roll around asking you to “like if…” I just want to throw something at the computer cringe . I believe this sort of thing to be some form of Facebook spam.  So whenever I see posts asking me to make comments starting with a certain letter of the alphabet or tell a story about the day we met, or for heaven’s sake that “giraffe” thing, etc…I start looking for my imaginary dislike button.   I think on some level I don’t care for these posts because I am private person and something of a control freak, and I don’t want anyone telling me how, what or why I should play along.  But, wouldn’t you just know it, it wasn’t long before I found myself enjoying these messages like everyone else.  Laughing at the quips left behind, chuckling at what a friend or family member said, the inside jokes and (I know) hold your horses…it actually became somewhat fun!  Okay, so it’s a thirty-something sort of fun, but if you’re a part of that club you know we’ll take just about any kind of fun that rolls our way 🙂

The only thing was… I wanted more.  Naturally curious, I wanted explanations to the comments I didn’t understand.  I wanted to be in the know.  And again, I didn’t want anyone to tell me what to do (as in assign me a number)….and so, drum roll please:  I decided to disclose 10 Things You Don’t Know About Me, on my own terms and with explanations.  Here it goes….

Tom Brokaw1.  As an adolescent, I had a huge crush on Tom Brokaw.

Okay, so he’s not everyone’s teenage dream, but he was mine.  So smart, knowledgable and trustworthy.  With a sweet midwestern charm and perfect hair.  He could pull off a taupe suit like no other man I know.  Sure, I was obsessed with Joey McIntyre of the New Kids on the Block and Mark Paul Gosselaar (Zack Morris) from Save by the Bell, but so were all my friends.  I thought, however, I just might have a chance with Tom.  I later found out he was married to a former beauty queen!  #hopesdashed

2.  I’m a picky eater, but if my Mom is making Mexican food…I will eat right up to that point just before vomiting.

Who doesn’t think their Mom is the best cook EVER?!  My Mom is a boss in the kitchen and makes the tastiest Mexican food in the world.  As a kid, I would protest and boycott all kinds of food.  I practically lived on grilled cheese (and not the good kind–I had to make mine in the toaster!)  But when Mom made Mexican food I could actually keep up with my brothers in the packing it in department.  Now that I live away from home, I have to make the most of my visits which means eating tostadas (my ABSOLUTE favorite) to the point of nauseousness.

3.  I HAVE to sleep on the side of the bed closest to the bathroom.  ALWAYS, no exceptions.

Without going into a lot of explanation, I have a sadder bladder.  It’s not a fun thing and stress makes it worse.  So whether home or away, near the bathroom I must stay 🙂

4.  I am obsessive about cutting up the plastic ring things that hold together soda, sports drinks, etc.

I went on this crazy save the Earth kind of thing when I was in junior high.  I was pretty fanatical about chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), saving the environment, ozone and climate everything.  In some ways, I was actually before my time.  I’m not sure what started this zaniness, but it might have something to do with Earth Day being so near my birthday.  So here’s where those little plastic ring things come in…I remember seeing a video where the human race was polluting the environment so badly, that tiny, sweet little ducks and birds were getting their heads caught in those rings and dying.  (Think of that one penguin in Happy Feet!)  Absolute sadness.  Always cut the plastic ring things into microscopic pieces.  Have to.

1186_save_us_save_earth5.  I walk out of movies.

Most people figure they pay good money to see a movie and even if it’s bad, they’re going to plant themselves on that seat clear through the end.  Not me.  If it’s trash–I’m out.  If it’s violent–see you later.  If children are being hurt–goodbye.  This doesn’t just apply to movies in the theatre, I’ll walk out on a DVD any day of the week.  I once walked out of a Christian movie–and I’m a Christian.  I can be perfectly happy in a movie theatre lobby.

6.  I can’t stand the song She Drives Me Crazy by the Fine Young Cannibals.

This wretched song came out in the late 80s and was completely overplayed.  I CANNOT stand it.  I hate the video even more.  I’m not sure exactly what has caused such a vile reaction to this particular piece of music, but like it I won’t.  The only thing I like about this song is that when it comes on Pandora or my iTunes radio station, I can actually click thumbs down or (my favorite) select the NEVER PLAY THIS AGAIN option.

7.  I learned how to do the “Twist” from Chubby Checker himself!

As a reporter, I had the opportunity to have many wonderful adventures–and meet some pretty cool people.  The one person I’ll never forget is Chubby Checker.  I’m a huge fan of oldies music and I just adore the “Twist.”  Chubby was performing at a venue in southeast Missouri and agreed to be interviewed to promote his concert.  He personally taught me how to do the “Twist.”  The trick, he said, is to pretend like your stomping out a cigarette with your foot and drying off your rear end while holding a towel.  That, my friends, is the “Twist!”

8.  I have never ridden on a motorcycle.

Many moons ago there was a young man who I as smitten with who rode a motorcycle.  I sooooo wanted to ride on the back!  I thought it would be just about the coolest thing in the world.  In reality, I had just watched the movie Grease 2 way too many times and wanted a “cool rider” of my own.  However, when I had the chance–when the motorcycle and the guy were right there in front of me (offering me a ride no less) I couldn’t do it.  I actually said, “My Mom said I can’t ride on a motorcycle.”  Lost many cool points that day, but (as my Mom would put it) I am still alive and with all my own skin on.  Today, as a mother, I would actually pull my kid off a motorcycle if I had to.  #uncoolmomsrule

9. I once yelled at a guy for trying to offer me drugs.

While at a college party (in a town that was not Lawrence, mind you) a young man sauntered up to me reeking of marijuana and sporting some extremely over-sized clothing.  He started making small talk with my friend and I and in less the two minutes decided we were worthy of retreating with him into a dark alley in order to share a joint.  Maybe it was the fact that I won a SADD contest as a kid, I’m not sure, but something kicked into hyperdrive with his offer.  I am against substance abuse of any kind and this gent had completely offended my honor.  I said (at the top of my lungs), “Do I LOOK like I do drugs to you?” and proceeded to yell at him.  It was one of those screaming rants similar to that of Ralphie on the movie A Christmas Story…I got started and I just couldn’t stop.  Poor kid just slithered away.  Maybe that was an over-the-top reaction, but I take this say no to drugs thing pretty seriously.

10. I want to be a writer, as in real book author, when I grow up.

When I was a kid I used to tell stories to my brothers and sister at bedtime.  I could tell stories that would go late into the night.  We would laugh and laugh with plot changes and strange twists.  The crazier the story, the better.  I also wanted to be a teacher when I was very young (decided kids are too much work), and then wanted to be a lawyer for about a week (couldn’t stand the thought of defending someone who I knew was guilty.)  Next, I wanted to be an author.  The dream seemed too big…so I set my sights on becoming a journalist instead!  I have yet to write a book, but the urge is still there.  And maybe, just maybe when I grow up–I’ll do something about it!

It’s funny (figuratively and literally) what we find out about each other when we simply “play” the game.  Thank you Facebook friends for sharing and for indulging me in “my version” of the game as well.

The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.  Wayne Dyer

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Smells Like Beef Jerky: A Vacation Personality Profile :)

Who knew the simplest, most easy-going personality type (me) would be the most difficult person to actually go on vacation with?  Doesn’t make sense?  Let me dissect this for you.

Cabin Vacation 2013 051Call me an 80s kid, but when I hear the word “vacation” only two things come to mind:  That oh-so-catchy tune by the GoGo’s and images of Chevy Chase and the crew in the comedy classic “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”  The former, a pop favorite that reminds us that vacation fixes no amount of heartache and the latter warns that vacation with your family is actually not a vacation after all!  Makes one wonder what’s the point of taking a vacation if all it really amounts to is just a temporary distraction from real life (followed by loads and loads of laundry when you return home.)  Obviously, I’m not much fun on a vacation….

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some wonderful trips.  I’ve been blessed enough to encounter beautiful and scenic places, cities that I’ve always wanted to see and explore, and I’ve visited several inspiring national treasures.  I can easily recall periods of true rest and relaxation, opportunities to unwind and forget, as well as experiencing times of remarkable awareness of God and His perfect peace.  This is my kind of vacation.  Succinct, easy to get to, moderate temperatures, quiet and BUG FREE!  Easy, right?  Not really.

Over the summer I came across a cute, little quiz in one of those popular ladies’ magazines that promises to decipher one’s vacation personality profile (in 10 questions or less!)  Turns out my ideal vacation experience would take place at a spa.  This is hilarious became I’m something of a germ-a-phobe which means the idea of being pampered in a public resort, having gloppy and potentially non-hypoallergenic creams applied to my skin by STRANGERS, provided by an industry that is not held to strict enough standards (in my opinion)…makes me extremely nervous.  Spa vacation is definitely a no-go.

vacation-definitionSimilarly, I didn’t think I qualified for the second vacation category the quiz outlined for me either:  action-adventure!  Those of you who know me understand that I’m a bit of a “mama hen” when it comes to risk taking…as in, I’m the girl who was ALWAYS the designated driver, I accompanied friends to the tattoo parlor in a feeble last-minute attempt to talk them out of getting inked up, and I always carry band aids and Neosporin 🙂  Risk taking like white water rafting and bungee jumping are out.  Just about the riskiest, action adventure type thing I’ve ever done was ride the Timber Wolf  roller coaster and shortly after I did that I heard on the news that…well, you can guess what happened.  Coasters are out.

So what’s a girl to do? The magazine’s vacation personality profile was a bust. As I scanned the other profiles–exotic locale, nature lover, and big city night life–I realized that my own personal vacation preference was a little off the beaten path.  I tend to gravitate toward non-touristy, quiet retreats with beautiful scenery and quick access to air conditioning/heat.  I want to stay up late, sleep in, read books and magazines and basically operate without an agenda.  It would be a bonus if I didn’t have to plan meals, get children up and moving and worry about insects, area crime statistics or crowded airports! It would appear that my (self-discovered) vacation personality profile boils down to one word–ALONE!

Cabin Vacation 2013 016What a marvelous piece of awareness!  All these years, after coordinating spring break getaways, extra long road trips, and family vacations I have finally discovered what I really want.  Too bad this new-found knowledge didn’t occur to me before we took this year’s summer vacation…

The drive was longer than I expected…lake traffic.  A lack of towns on this stretch of highway meant bathroom breaks were time sucks.  The weather was rainy and muggy.  I hate rain.  We had no idea what to do when we got there or where to go.  We kept running out of tick repellent.  I hate fishing.  I got drenched by lake water.  I hate lake water.  Preparing meals was a bigger chore than usual.  We traveled with our kids.  More rain.  Did I mention that I hate rain?

Those are the cold hard facts, people.  But isn’t it remarkable how our memories work.  I read an article once that used science to prove that the “good ol’ days” were really a coping mechanism that our brain uses as a survival tool.  You see we are hardwired to remember the good and sort of overlook the bad.  Think of women and childbirth.  You get the picture.  Nostalgia is funny like that.  So let me retell the story of our summer vacation the way I will always remember it…

We saw a part of the country we had never seen before.  We had the opportunity to share stories and sing and laugh on the drive.  We experienced nature first hand from the darling herd of deer on the side of the road to tiny rabbits and waterfowl all while staying at the sweetest little cabin.  We unplugged from the world and spent the evenings playing board games and cards.  Sean serenaded us with a marshmallow microphone and Casey befriended the worms we used as bait.  We met good and kindhearted people everywhere we went and ran into friends as well.  And although it rained and stormed, we were warm, safe and TOGETHER.  Plus, the van smelled like beef jerky the entire vacation 🙂

I think it’s fair to say that at this point in my life a spa vacation isn’t going to happen.  And as far as action-adventure, well… I think I would use that term to describe my regular everyday life.  I’ve experienced the career of my dreams, completed my educational goals, driven half the country by myself (once) and back again (with a 15 month old in tow), met and interviewed celebrities, survived Las Vegas, lived through scary health issues, had 13 different addresses (8 communities and 3 states) in the last 20 years, driven a carload of clowns through the streets of San Francisco, attended numerous concerts and sporting events, and presently stay busy raising my kids (if that isn’t “action-adventure” then I don’t know what is!)  A vacation alone, well that will just have to wait.

The dictionary defines vacation as a period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.  A holiday.  I would love to know exactly who gets to go on these awesome getaways! Pleasure, rest, relaxation and PAY!  On the serious side, it makes me wonder if maybe a vacation is something more.  Perhaps, there’s another definition?  One that better fits my vacation personality profile?  I guess I would have to define vacation as anywhere my loved ones are, where we can draw closer to one another, and recharge our spiritual batteries.  I’m not sure where that ideal destination is, but I am positive it’s on a journey where there’s going to be plenty of beef jerky to smell up the van.  And ideally the whole thing would still have to occur in a place without bugs.

Laughter is an instant vacation.  Milton Berle