Sweet summertime

Sweet summertime

I was sitting in church this morning when a memory of summer came flashing to the forefront of my mind. Running barefoot through the warm, green grass under the bright sunshine. 

When I see posts about driving on the backroads I giggle cause I lived on a backroad. We kept the front windows closed or barely cracked because we didn’t want all the dust coming in from people driving by and most seemed to think they were on a nascar track. I grew up living in the country with hayfields all around and neighbors that were down the road not next door. No air conditioning but boxed fans in the window. The sweet scents of the mimosa tree that grew next to the house and the old fashioned pink roses that overwhelmed the mailbox. We really did have sun tea or cold well water on those long hot summer days.

I can remember when we got air conditioning it was HEAVEN! Pretty sure I can’t live without it now except for when I head out to Albuquerque in October. This last year I left the windows open on the little airbnb place I stayed…it was fantastic!

In the summer we were outside everyday either riding our bikes, mopeds (we had them before they were cool), motorcycle, or two legs depending on where we were going. For us distance was a relative thing. A few miles or 10 miles was nothing depending on what mode of transportation. 

We would head to the creek so we could wade in to cool off and have some fun. Not quite the scene from ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’. If you don’t know what I’m talking about click here. We watched for snakes but the water was so cold I never really worried too much – they were probably all along the banks waiting for us to get out of the water. I remember chewing on the mint that grew in the creek and its sweet spearmint flavor. Now I’d get whiplash from trying to keep a lookout for creepy crawly things.

As we got older our transportation changed to an old Chevy truck and by old I mean 1963. There was no power steering, it still took regular gas, and the gear shift would come out of the floor. Even better it had a canoe rack on it that rattled non-stop. There were plenty of fun times in that old truck. Our first trip onto the blacktop heading to softball practice the gear shift came out. Can’t lose your calm in the face of adversity. I had my sister grab the wheel and try to keep it straight on a curvy road while I got in the floor board and put the shifter back in. Good times! You would think that would be it for the day, but no. Once the gear shift was in, we got about a quarter of a mile up the road to discover a cow had gotten out and was standing in the road. I didn’t want to hurt her so I slowed way down. Well this was too slow because she stuck her head in the passenger side window. I then had two sisters up in my grill as I’m screaming at them to get the cow out. My leadership and parenting skills obviously were off to a rough start because I was bossy as hell since I was the oldest. I think I’ve made some improvement over the years.

As summer is approaching here in the Ozarks I’m just reminded of my youth. You know you lived in the country when directions included at the end of the pavement turn left onto the dirt road. Now the pavement doesn’t end and the dirt road is completely different from when I was a kid. My grandparents live at the end of the pavement that doesn’t end now, so I’ve been able to see the changes over the years when I would visit.

I always hated it when the road graders came through because it was guaranteed, when I went around the curve on my bike a rock would catch on the tire and I’d go flying. I did that once right into a fence and it hurt like the devil. Thank goodness that wasn’t a barbed wire fence but I’ve crawled through many of them. 

Not the old home place but close! Credit to kingcats-fence.com

I just don’t remember watching tv like I do now. I was always outside. We had a street light of all things right across from the house, which was in the middle of nowhere. The bats loved us because the light attracted bugs for them to snack on. I could watch them for hours and if I wasn’t doing that I was practicing for softball by throwing rocks at the pole. I’m astounded I never had one come back and nail me in the head. I had a good aim that’s for sure.

Lots of good memories from my time in the country. It’s funny how now I really enjoy the comforts of town living. Probably because I can come home everyday at lunch and take a little breather from work. In the spring and summer I work on my tan by sitting on the back deck. Ginger, my rat terrier, is happy to have some yard time. Her life sentence of living with this human is hard…real hard. Eye roll with me.

Today was a great day to be out enjoying the warmth and before too long summer will be here. For me that means bringing out the boat and heading for the lake rather than going to the creek. Times have definitely changed not necessarily for the better just different. We all mature and the boat is the mature version of me wading in the creek. 

Enjoy some sunshine and before too long it will be summertime! 

-G.

Online dating: from the creepy to the crazy and everything in between

Online dating: from the creepy to the crazy and everything in between

It was an eye opening experience and in some ways it was hysterical. I really never thought I would write about this but since my encounter in the Tampa airport it just won’t get out of my head, so here we are with me telling this story. A couple of years ago I decided to give online dating a try. I live in a small town where I’m related to a more than average number of people, and it’s not that easy to meet someone single because there aren’t a lot of options. Options I’m willing to explore. Maybe I’m too picky – hell yes and I should be. 

It was like a New Year’s resolution to try and get out there and meet someone. Not sit at home wallowing in loneliness. Later I would realize that loneliness is preferential to what I found online. Really it was a convention of perverts and misfits half the time sprinkled with a few really nice people. I started off with Christian Mingle. If there were some Christian men on there I didn’t find any. Talked to some nice folks in the chat room from all over the world but mostly it was trolls. I opted for the free version because my expectations were seriously low. My coworker was kind enough to send this ad for Christian Tingle, which is seriously funny. Click on the link for a good laugh. I jumped off that site after a month or so. I just remember I wasn’t on there long.

Next up was OK Cupid. Seemed “okay” at first but the longer I was on there the creepier the guys got along with the requests. As an fyi I cast a broad net geographically since I really don’t want to date a cousin. I became an exceptional investigator out of necessity. This is not to be confused with stalking because it’s not the same. I was able to eliminate a disturbing number of married men, guys with criminal histories and drug abuse issues which are all things I don’t need in my life. There are way too many that just wanted a texting relationship which isn’t really a relationship. Wth! Oh and the catfishing you have to constantly be on guard for that crap too. At some point I was actually on two sites Plenty of Fish (POF) and OK Cupid. I ditched Cupid when I had a guy think I would just pop over to his job and hook him up with a bj. Yeah not happening. 

Dick pics were a common occurrence. We started taking bets on how soon I would get a pic once I started talking with some guy. And if they think I wasn’t sharing all that with my friends wrong…it had become a sick form of entertainment for all of us.

So now I’m approaching July – seven months of online dating and I’d had enough. Right when I was about to leap off POF, which is a lot harder to disconnect from than you think. You can’t do it from the app on your phone you actually have to log onto the computer and go through multiple steps to get off that train to hell. I was going to miss my conversations with a fella from the UK but in the long run he would survive my sudden disappearance from POF. You got it I didn’t plan on saying goodbye.

What happened to slow that train up, some guy, that’s what happened. He was sweet and had all the attributes I was looking for in a man. I should’ve known he was too good to be true. Ultimately my investigating lead to discovering his stint in rehab, his lying and all the other women. I was thankful we didn’t meet but that was only because he stood me up. That was extremely disappointing at the time because we had spent so much time texting and talking on the phone and planning the meet up. Definitely makes you do an evaluation of self and wonder is it me….ummm no. He was the one that wanted to be Facebook friends and wanted me to get to know him and said he had nothing to hide. Bet he didn’t really think I would dig. 

So there I was sitting in the airport in Tampa, FL reading on my kindle, and  waiting for my flight when I look up and have this immediate recognition with this guy standing about 10 feet away. There was something about his tattoos, bald head and features that made me think I know him but how!? Could it be work…don’t think so. My gut is screaming at me…I rely on that 6th sense and it’s got something to say but what! We both made eye contact and the screaming gut is giving me the bad juju feeling that I need to figure this out. We end up on the same flight and he’s actually sitting one row ahead but on the opposite side. I give my brain a rest hoping by giving it another task I’ll figure this out in my subconscious. Still haven’t gotten it by the time we land and he’s standing there waiting for his buddy that was seated behind me, so as I pass him again we make eye contact. 

Off to find my gate and as I’m waiting on the tram they walk up to stand right behind me. Not a coincidence either cause I could tell he was trying to figure out this puzzle as well. Up pulls the tram and I walk to the other side and stand between people and grab a handhold. We make eye contact again, really this is getting old, and I can see the curiosity in his eyes. Then he speaks to his buddy….that was the trigger I needed to kick my brain in gear. His voice. Holy crap that was guy that was supposed to meet me and he ended up being a total loser. He never did figure it out from what I could gather and once I did I wanted to avoid the “do we know each other conversation”. I was thankful my flight was on time and he wasn’t on the next leg!

During that seven months of online dating I met eight guys in person. Seems like a low number but the pickings were slim! Aka I’m picky. One or two were worth a meet and that’s it. Several were way too young but they put out a good effort to get my attention. Still wasn’t happening bless their little hearts. One I actually dated for several months because he happened to keep my number long after I stopped online dating sites. He was lots of fun but we had different expectations for our lives and careers. His expectation was a party every day and a sugar momma. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

 Another guy wanted a nurse maid and that’s a bit much to ask from someone that you meet up with the first time and you’ve only ever talked online. At least he was willing to throw that out there right from the start considering some of the lies and half truths I’ve heard. I had actually gone to school with one of my dates. Not awkward but it did feel like I was out with a cousin so he was out. 

Then there was doily man. Holy crap that was a lunch date and all my coworkers sat at a table down from us. That was awkward as hell. He indicated what I should order and then proceeded to take my leftovers home. He touched my food. Most of the meal he talked about how he had been able to finally buy his dream car – it was a Toyota Camry. I’m being serious that’s what he said and I saw it his dream car. 

How do I know about the doilies – this was a bad decision I will admit but he wanted me to see his house. This was my first online date so I was still trying to figure this shit out. I agreed partly because I felt like I could take him if he tried anything and the posse knew where I was going. I’m not above giving someone an ass whipping to save myself. And some sick part of me just had to see. Again not the best decision but OMG what an amusing experience. This is a story we still laugh about around the office. 

It was like his grandmother decorated his home and he was showing off his palace except he allowed cats on the table. Ick. He kept talking about how I could lie around by the pool sunning myself with my girlfriends and he’d bring drinks. Not ever happening. He showed me almost every room in the house. No worries with the doilies I wasn’t going to be seeing a red room any time soon. When he finally noticed the tattoo on the inside of my wrist I knew I was out, thank the Lord, cause I wasn’t going for any of that crazy. The man had valentine flags lining the walk up to the door! Seriously. Freely admitted he sucked in the bedroom – if the doilies weren’t enough that just put the cherry on top.

Traveling made things fun. My phone would literally blow up with notifications. A few got demanding in their expectation of meeting. Seriously I’m there to work. It was nice to know that if I lived in a bigger city I would have a lot more options AND a lot more crazies to filter out. Geez the filtering would be work. I really missed an opportunity with all the conversations that I could’ve shared and blogged about…for real. I follow plentyoffishmyass on IG. That’s some funny stuff and sadly I can relate to a bunch of it. 

The reality is I actually know people that met through dating sites, and they were successful at finding a wonderful partner. That makes me happy for them. So I know it can work but it just didn’t work for me. In many ways I’m glad it didn’t work because the times it didn’t was a time that something really great or a fabulous opportunity happened in my life. They just weren’t meant to be which is fine. My coworker Mary said none of them could handle all my awesomeness! Lol Like I said I’d rather be lonely alone, than put myself in a position to be lonely in a relationship because that sucks. I’ve done that before no sense in doing it again. Of course my faithful companion Ginger might get a little ticked that I’m saying I’m alone. Technically I have a 14 pound rat terrier that rules my life. Not quite the crazy cat lady but close….really, really close. 

-G.

Death warmed over or something like that

Death warmed over or something like that

Sick, sick, sick – why can this not just skip me? Isn’t it always when you have a ton of things on your plate, going a million different directions, that it creeps in and attacks. My immune system is lacking in the first place, so I go above and beyond to try and stay healthy. A monthly B-12 shot…aka liquid crack (talk about giving yourself a jolt of energy and it’s good for you), vitamins, eating fresh foods and non-processed. Those freaking little bacteria and viral entities are the devil! I know they serve a purpose, but I’d just like them to serve it somewhere other than in my upper respiratory area. Ugh

Bless my medical professionals that do their best to help me continue being a contributing member of society. Cause I’d really rather crawl back under a rock right now. I’m trying to decide if the infector of this affliction was that woman on the plane that kept hacking continuously and was NOT wearing a mask or covering her mouth adequately. Ick. Or could it have been some other soul that was carrying the infection and didn’t know they were contagious. I mean that’s easier to forgive than the blatant hacking. Maybe it was my coworker….hmmmm that’s possible. That infectious typhoid Mary! There is the slim chance that it’s due to the HVAC system being changed out and it stirred up a crap ton of allergens….maybe I’m not the only one suffering. There is the possibility it’s the rollercoaster weather we have going on. An extreme of 80 to 20 will get a body sick. Maybe I’m just mental cause I’m sick!

A blood draw is going to be the deciding factor between bacteria or virus so place your bets….the winner is VIRUS. Blast your micron sized hide. Geez this headache that won’t stop right behind my eyes or the neverending supply of mucus is not wanted or needed. Really pack your little virus bags and find a new home cause I’m evicting you! My lovely nurse got to stick me twice. Thank you kindly for that steroid shot. I might be wide awake tonight, but hopefully I’ll be on the way to healthy and happy. 

Right now I feel like I’m approaching zombie level of a bad horror movie. You know it’s bad when you’re avoided and people start throwing up cross signs with their fingers. Those fingers are not going to work when I get to full out zombie as an fyi. I’m pretty sure my temperament has been equal to a rotting zombie corpse. I’m not a good sick patient. 

I do miss the times when I was a kid and could go to my great-grandparents house and have home canned tomato soup. It would put you on the path to wellness quick. Anyway it always seemed that way to me. It was spicy goodness that I’ve tried to replicate but never quite get it exactly right. No recipe to follow so I have to go on this continuously aging memory. Lord help me it will fail eventually. Hopefully my taste buds will keep remembering lol

So where am I – stuck again on the couch. Drinking lots of hot tea and eating soup. I do feel like death warmed over otherwise watch out for the zombie at this address! ✌ 

Stay well and stay away from me until I am. Sincerely – the infected.

-G.

Measuring success…

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” – Booker T. Washington

Lord I hope this true – because in the end I’ll have overcome the equivalent of Mt. Everest based on the current level of obstacles. It’s up to each one of us on how we tackle that mountain. Will it beat us or will we succeed and overcome in the end. I want to hang my prayer flag at the top of my Mt. Everest!

Actually my son had to do a project a few years ago for his English class on the book he was reading. Peak by Roland Smith is exceptional and I’ve read it with him more than once and on my own just cause. It’s one of our favorites. Anyway in rubric hell he had to select several items to get all the points he needed to achieve a good grade. One of the options was to recreate something from the book hence a prayer flag. I still have it in my home office. It represents our love of the book and the beginning of his love of reading. Sweet memories! 

Life is full of obstacles to overcome and figure away around or just figure out. We can spend lots of time just trying to figure things out. It’s important to not be paralyzed by indecisiveness or fear of the next step. Just like my first post Jump. Jump knowing you’re going to get some bruises, jumping knowing it might hurt, jump because action is better than inaction, and jump because it means you’re alive and free to make the choice to go in any direction you choose. Hopefully the direction you choose is a path that leads to a greater success, the next peak or maybe you rise to the pinnacle and you can see for miles around you and choose what side of the mountain you want to travel down. What new adventures are on the horizon or to look back at what you’ve overcome because the past is an important teacher and influencer on how we approach the future. Eventually I want to walk down to the beach and sit in the sand or stand in the surf and just enjoy life. Oh and I need a cocktail cause that’s what we do!

Unfortunately I’m nowhere near getting to that beach unless it’s a vacation. Funny thing I don’t seem to be picking the beach I head for the mountains. I think my compass is confused. I can see it as more obstacles or that I’m working on achieving even greater success in my life. It’s all in your perspective! 

-G.

Is this the right path?

Is this the right path?

Geez don’t know about you but I’ve been asking myself that question A LOT lately. Actually I’m thinking I’ve wandered off the path and I’m in the briers all tangled up and getting stabbed with the thorns. I feel a little scratched up and possibly bruised from the struggle. I start struggling even though its futile and I should just go straight to some prayer and ask for help right then…BUT that would be a big no because my pride is a bit extreme and wants to figure out a plan first. I’m telling you this does NOT help me at all because eventually I have to recognize, that I have absolutely no control over what is happening in my life. What I do have control over is how I’m going to react to it. Do I continue to struggle? Do I not seek some heavenly help and admit I need God to take the load? Do I welcome help when it comes to light and allow my pride to fall to the wayside? Pride is the root of my evil. It gets me every time!!!!

I will freely admit that I struggled for a day this time before I admitted to God that I was not in control, and could he please take the wheel of this out of control life I’ve got going on right now. Not only has he taken control but I was given some insights into why I’m in this situation. DO I LIKE IT? Yeah I’m screaming….that would be no but I recognize why it’s happening and that there is a plan. It’s not my plan, it’s God’s plan. Will I be Job and put my faith in God’s plan for me and those I care for, or do I really think I’m better and can come up with something even greater….just saying now that I don’t.

He has a purpose and maybe I don’t see all the parts of the plan, but my responsibility is to humbly accept it and know the results will be exactly what they should be. Maybe God has to make little changes for the big change to fall into place or maybe it’s a test and I need to fall in line. If you aren’t a believer I’m sure this all sounds strange, but my faith has sustained me since the day I accepted Christ when I was 8 years old. A big commitment that equals only one thing – Grace. Hard to image that I made such a momentous decision at an early age, but it has been a rock in my life even when it’s been a roller coaster. I’ve been on lots of strange paths and narrow winding ways that have felt dark and lonely in the beginning and then I remember I have Grace….I know Jesus. Is it an easy path…I would like to say yes, but the first part of this blog will attest to a big fat no. I always struggle and it’s because my pride gets in my way. Each day I don’t have a struggle is a day that feels blessed and like the burdens are weightless – if only I could remember that when I start to build the walls and make my own plans and design my own path – ugh I make it tough on myself.

To quote Forrest Gump ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.’

You feel like you have things going in the right direction and then BAM! Life smacks you right up side the head. So my reaction is to hold tight to my faith and know that there is a plan. That doesn’t mean I standby and let life bowl me over, but I do acknowledge my reality and move on. Perseverance seems to be my middle name anymore. I’m just going to reach into that box of chocolates and see what other tasty bite I can get out of this life. Enjoy the little things – Rule #32

My goal is to be a role model that my son can look up to and know that being responsible and accountable are expected and should be embedded into your life. It’s not an after thought or an option when it feels good or people might be watching. Even when you’re the only one, stand-up for what is right. It’s not always easy or the popular choice but then I have never taken either so why start now. Makes me want to do a ‘Twanda’ yell!!!

-G.

 

 

 

Enjoy the little things 

Enjoy the little things 

I’m overjoyed that my son is home for the holidays. His first night home I slept like a baby. My maternal instinct was just so happy to have him under my roof to feed and fuss over. Contentment oozes from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.

Christmas was small in comparison to previous years but the time together is the most valuable and priceless part of his visit. We’ve discussed his future plans, plotted world peace, negotiated some serious topics, and enjoyed our time with friends and family. 

Motherhood is not easy. I’ve had to compromise, let go way to soon, and I’m challenged over and over on the fact that I let him decide to live with his father. I’ve been judged and found wanting with no evidence based on that one item alone. I learned a long time ago that you can’t defend yourself. Actions speak louder than words and I don’t need to justify my actions in this case.

Being a single mom hasn’t stopped with him living with his dad. I still have the same job of parenting. To guide him to being an independent adult that will be responsible and can handle any situation life throws at him. To know that he’s capable of adulting. I freaking hear this way too much or see memes about not adulting today. Well you don’t get to take a break from that and if you are it’s called being irresponsible. No accountability…get your shit together! Just do it…life sucks balls sometimes. Leaping off my soapbox now. Makes me a bit crazy when I hear that kind of stuff. Now for those of you that are being funny and you’re responsible…you have a pass on my gripe. 

Just in case anyone isn’t sure adulting means: you pay your bills first then play with what’s left. Take care of your family and kids first before spending on wants or frivolous items. 

Back to where I was going with this blog…it has been a load of experiences. Mountain coaster riding…no brakes!!! Thrill seekers are us. Topped that experience off with keys locked in the vehicle. Only I can do that twice in less than a month. Too many distractions and I need to do some ‘being in the moment’ and not looking ahead to the next moment. BUT the gentleman that busted my keys free cracked us up. He drove up in his little van and backed into the space next to me. He jumps out and as he comes around I see his cap says ‘Jesus is Lord’ or ‘I love Jesus’. Can’t recall because I was totally thrown by the heavy rap song that busted loose unexpectedly from his ride along with the clear word ‘Fuck’. Whaaat….that word and Jesus typically don’t go together. He turns it off and doesn’t say anything. As he starts breaking in to my vehicle his phone goes off – he answers and as soon as he gets off the music starts again – I hear fuck AGAIN! I’m trying not to laugh as he frantically tries to cut the music off. He then tells us that he had picked a Christmas music station on Pandora and instead of Christmas music he gets rap with foul language every time. OMG hysterical and his face was bright red too. He made quick work of the break in so we were off and blazing a trail home so we could see Rogue One. Soooo good and if you don’t know Star Wars that’s a tragedy! We saw Assassin’s Creed the week before…it was good too. My son said they did a good job, and he’s my little gamer so he’ll know better than I will.

Up next a trip to Ft. Smith, AR to ring in the New Year and then off to Tulsa, OK to watch the Tulsa Oilers play some hockey against Wichita. Fun times. Any seat in the BOK Center is good so no complaints and we got to listen to fans from both sides cheer on their team. It was our first time to see a minor league game and it was fun so we’ll be doing it again!

Point is I don’t get a ton of time with my son, but we try to make the most of it. Goes back to Be Here Now and how important that concept is when he’s with me and how finite our time is together. To rip off Zombieland – one of our favorite movies – Rule #32 Enjoy the Little Things! 

Happy New Year! I hope that all those that read my blog and even those that don’t are blessed with a fantastic year!

-G.

A lightning bolt

A lightning bolt

I talked about my struggles with my temper a bit in my last blog. As a kid there was a lot of family strife and it boiled out of me when I couldn’t take the stress of it anymore. How did I find patience and peace? It was a long process that took years. 

My poor anger habits were ingrained. When I look back over the years I see baby steps away from that poor habit. Patience was a level of maturity I hadn’t attained in some areas. Anger has a way of making a shaky conversation take a nose dive. It wasn’t until I had a child that I started getting a bigger grasp of my anger issue. You think it’s easy to control…ummm not. Pops out at the most inappropriate times. At the time I was married and for sure he knew how to push every angry button I had. I could see myself losing control, but I couldn’t reel it in for the life of me. 

It wasn’t until after my divorce that I had an epiphany. Whoever controls my anger controls me. WTH! That can’t be right. The more I thought about it the more disturbingly real that statement became…and it was in my own head so it was a rowdy conversation. 

Once that lightning bolt of realization settled in I promised myself that I would not allow my anger to control me again. I’ve struggled through some situations. I know I’ve lost it a few times, but I’ve come a long way from out of control. 

I’m not going to say I don’t get mad, but I decide what my reaction will be. Do I confront the person? Do I wait till emotions have cooled down? Let it go because it’s just not worth an argument? Do I plot justice (might possibly be called revenge but that sounds so negative)?….sometimes justice is fun stuff. 

Point is get a grip on the emotions so YOU are the one in control not someone else.

-G.