Wish Lists

In a few days, homes will fill with the laughter of little ones overwhelmed with excitement over presents under the tree. With that wonderful sound, the aroma of holiday scented candles, hot chocolate and Christmas dinner will add to the sight of dancing lights, glittering ornaments and perfectly wrapped boxes unraveled at each seam to create a sensory buffet.

I remember my favorite Christmas present. A Cabbage Patch Doll. For clarification, not one with the yarn hair, but one with the silky hair that could be combed and styled. I desperately wanted one of those dolls and that alone would have made my year. The morning of December 25th, I tore into the red glossy paper and there she was, Madeline Hope. She wore a beautiful blue dress with white lace trim and white walking shoes (much like the corrective shoes I wore as a child). I cherished that doll for many years after her birth.

My sons are now at the age I was when I asked for that baby doll. Their Christmas wish list is very different from mine then. Laptop. Nintendo DSi with games. PSP games. PS3 games. NFL jerseys. NBA jerseys. And, most of all-a flat screen LCD TV. I searched their list up and down for anything that identified them as children, prepubescent kids and I found nothing. No toys. No bikes. No games that do not require energy of the electrical sort. The list could have easily been one from my teenage or adult brothers. Their list is as indicative of 2010 as mine was of 1985; for good or for bad, times have evolved.

This morning we are boxing up over 100 action figures to take to the Helping Hand Mission. It wasn’t even a year ago when John Cena, Batista and Big Show filled their hands as they battled each other for the WWE title. I still catch them playing with them from time to time, but only when the television and anything connected to it is off limits. It’s time to pass these things along to another little boy in the prime of his wrestling obsession.

I worry that they are growing too fast; that I have taught them too much too soon. I worry that their maturity at 7 and 9 will backfire at 17 and 19. I worry that I will fail them as I’m sure all mothers do, but no other mothers are responsible for these two.

And just because I want to keep them kids as much as possible for as long as possible, I put NFL action figures in their stockings.

Social Networth

Warning: I may step on your toes here…

I am taking a class in Conflict Theory and Communication at Abilene Christian University. In a recent discussion, a classmate stated that they thought it was important to always conduct resolutions to conflicts in person. I disagreed. I engage in very little face to face communication. Actually, according to my wireless bill, I engage in very little verbal communication at all.

I prefer to communicate via electronic methods and social networking methods. I find that I am better able to express myself when I write my thoughts as opposed to verbally articulating them. Words get convoluted by emotions and interpretations.

The truth is I’m a control freak.

Through electronic communication, I can control the tone, the direction, the progression and even the conclusion of any conversation. Without nonverbal communication and voice cues to dictate meaning, I control how my words are perceived and I can adjust that perception if need be. If I want to end the dialogue, I simply stop responding and I can always blame network error or signal loss for my unresponsiveness.

I shrink in socially awkward situations. I do so out of fear of rejection, assumption and misunderstanding. Social networking has given me an avenue to disconnect. I can engage my ‘friends’ without ever having to come in contact with them. It’s a beautifully thing for a hermit at heart.

Or is it?

On average, I engage in about five social interactions a month (excluding church, work and familial obligations). This includes dates, lunches with coworkers, dinners with friends and home visits. Five. Maybe six. I check my social network sites five, maybe six times a day.

What is my social networth?

A few years ago, I conducted an experiment. I deleted over six hundred friends from facebook to see how many, if any would notice. Four did. The first to mention it was a friend I made through a friend. I wonder if she even knew my last name. She was the first person I added back. She and I are friends.

Or are we?

We are internet friends. She knows the girl on the page as do I. We’ve never visited each other’s homes or workplaces. We’ve never gotten our kids together for a playdate. We’ve never called each other on the late night to cry over a break up or laugh over a come on. She’s only seen the best pics of me. She has no idea how wild my hair is when I wake up or how insecure I am about my left eye. Yet, I’ve been a good ‘efriend’ to her. I’ve clicked ‘like’ on her posts and commented on her updates. I’ve been a better friend to her on the internet than I’ve been to some in live and in living color. I’ve put more value in our virtual relationship than I have in actual relationships. Ouch.

My experiment was not a fair assessment of my importance to my network. I have been deleted from friend lists and have not realized it or chose not to question it. It didn’t mean I didn’t care.

The girl behind the snack counter at the theatre suggested combo #2. “I’ll have the #1, I don’t need the second medium drink.” She smiled awkwardly.

I’m soaking my feet in epsom salt.

Time For Tea (and backup assistant)

As we transition from hot summer days and weekends full of cookouts and street festivals, morning show cooking segments begin to evolve as well.  The grills are put away and television countertops are filled with crock pots and casserole dishes. Gone are the hot new recipes for grilled caesar salad (yeah) and in its stead are recipes for comfort foods.

While I love the occasional chocolate bar plank during that time of the month, I’m not big on finding comfort in food. I do find comfort in drinks. Wait. This is not a confessional. I like the sporadic glass of wine or watermelon martini but those moments are few and far between and usually end with one…usually. I actually find comfort in tea. That is not a typo. I like tea. I collect teas. Blueberry pomegranate white tea, ginger infused green tea, and chamomile and honey tea-you get the point. I get so wrapped in the names and aromas that I purchase them all and there they sit, in my kitchen cupboards waiting to be steeped in hot water.

The truth is, they will never meet the mug.

 I only actually drink four types of tea.

1-Old-fashioned sweet tea (on a Sunday afternoon as compliment to some fried chicken, collard greens and macaroni and cheese)

2-Hot tea and Halls (when I have a cold I like to place a honey lemon cough drop and tea bag in a cup of water and microwave for 3 minutes-it works wonders)

3-Hot tea latte (made at home with milk and sugar)

4-Chai tea (my favorite coffee shop treat)

 These are my comfort drinks.

It was while enjoying one of these that I realized I lost myself. Actually, I lost my phone. This isn’t an ode to the blackberry, I lost myself in my phone. Okay, I’ve confused myself and you’re ready to stop reading. About a year ago, I decided to find me, to understand me, to rediscover me, to clear the disillusions based on experience and oppression and find my true, authentic and genuine essence (you have to say the last one with escalating excitement and raise your arm into an Angela Davis position). I started making notations under the notepad on my phone every time I had a new epiphany.

I have an overactive limbic system.

I hold my breath during swimming scenes on television.

I like orange roses.

This list had grown to about fifty entries when I realized that upon getting a new phone, the notations had not transferred over. I am lost. I have no idea who I am. I try writing down as many as I can remember, after all I read the list almost daily, but my efforts are unsuccessful. I can only remember fourteen. I call the store where I turned in the phone whose Q, N,R, H and 4 keys stopped functioning. The sarcasm in the woman’s voice told me I would be lost forever.

Exhale.

That night I craved a cup of tea. I craved comfort. When I got to the bottom of that cup I still needed comforting, I had an epiphany. It’s not the tea that comforts me but the company that accompanies the tea: my family sharing a laugh over Sunday dinner, my father and his herbal supplements, my mother and her perfect combination of cream and sweetener, sharing a moment with a friend in a quaint little café. I’m starting a new list. I’m using pen and paper.

I like tea.

I waste money.

Love @ First Write

Somer Cooper, a very very good friend, has been trying to set me up for months now. She has gone on and on about this guy she met and how he would be absolutely perfect for me. We have a lot in common; she persists before reading his list of attributes. I listen attentively, mentally checking off the things I like and those I don’t. He sounds good, but am I really ready for this?

One night, in an attempt to silence her, I look him up. It’s the age of information and I am a millennial so I google him. I’m intrigued so I hit him up.

He’s pretty easy to deal with and in my chaotic world, I crave easy. He’s simple yet wild with adventure and amazement. He’s full of information and worldly ideas. He gives me a voice and honors what I think by giving me a platform on which to say it. He inspires me to be greater than I am and invites me to bring others along. He’s open to my creativity. He doesn’t laugh at my quirkiness and even encourages it. He doesn’t judge me; when I stroke a wrong key or transpose letters in my haste, he understands and offers suggestions. He gets that I am not as techno savvy as I should be.

We’ve been on three unconventional dates thus far (we drove to the mall, did laundry together and fought over the check at dinner) and I have to admit, I’m falling hard. I think about him a lot. It’s like those first few weeks of any new relationship where everything is drama-free and fun-filled. I lay awake wondering what he’s doing and I grab my blackberry to connect with him, first thing in the morning. I want the world to know about us and I’ve professed our courtship via email, facebook, linkedin, twitter and any other medium I could think of.

I fear the inevitable; someone will come along and ruin this moment. Someone will invade our harmony with their opinion and ideas, and well there is such a thing as the first amendment. You may not subscribe to our affection but if you do, I welcome you in.

I’ve been bitten and no amount of scratching or Benadryl (or making an X with my fingernail) is gonna cure this because…

I

LOVE

BLOGGING.

“C is for Compact”

“C is for compact.”

I squeezed out of my vehicle for that! I was pissed. I imagined that the note was from some admirer who had found my beauty too bountiful to express himself in person. Maybe, the mall security guard, seeing me on surveillance saw this as his only chance. Perhaps the guy I passed when I was turning in knew he couldn’t let the opportunity pass to be blessed by my grace. The flattery of it all made me smile (more than the shoes I had just purchased for half off). It was romantic and a little creepy…but I’m an ‘everafter’ at heart.

Everafter=those who believe in the fantasy, the fairytale, the happy ending.

It wasn’t a happy ending. It was sarcasm. I know C is for compact but at 3:30 in the afternoon when the parking lot is empty and there are a million spaces…is it that serious? I imagined the author was some young college girl in a bug who probably didn’t wear shoes and spent countless hours brainstorming ways to save the world (similarity to anyone in particular is completely unintentional). Maybe it was an older gentleman, a professor of Engineering at NC State who drove one of those half-a-car things that could fit in my trunk and need to be plugged in periodically.

Stereotypical visions filled my windshield as I crumbled the paper ripped from a notebook and tossed it into the backseat. I was no different from the scribbler. They probably thought I was some oil guzzling, money wasting, mindless consumer shopping for the latest designer bag. Correction. I bought my last purse in Target and I never buy anything that isn’t on sale.

I like my truck. I kind of even like the stereotypes that are associated with it. “How much does gas cost to fill that thing up?!” I hear that at least once a day. “Are you driving your man’s car?” I hear that at least once a week. “What did you do to afford that?” I hear that at least…well never but I know they think it. Then there’s the inevitable ‘pull up’, when a hot young girl pulls up next to me at a light expecting to find some hot young guy…she’s disappointed and I’m amused.

I like that it represents me and my personality in so many ways. I like that it is so bold, so bright, so big. I like that it is the first vehicle I purchased on my own. Maybe I should have thought of the economy and the environment before I signed the contract to purchase, but I didn’t. I liked it.

It’s just that simple.

Maybe the writer drove a large vehicle too. Maybe it was a note they got once and saved it to pass on the humor. Maybe the writer was genuinely sharing a piece of information that needed to be spread across mall parking lots nationwide. Maybe it was a mall security guard overwhelmed by the number of accident reports he had to take down in a day because some big vehicle put the grand canyon in the door of a smaller one. It could be just that simple.

But just in case…maybe I should get a bumper sticker that reads “my hummer just ate your cooper”.