Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What was I thinking?

More and more posts seem to be having this same title. Hmmmm.

Anywho, on with the post...

I think the Daddy/Daughter relationship is very, very, very important. But sometimes I tend to go overboard.

I have lots of preconceived notions about what dads and daughters with good relationships are like. And low and behold, I recently got a thing in the mail that seemed to fit those preconceived notions PERFECTLY! The local Girl Scouts were hosting a Daddy-Daughter Dance and my little heartstrings got to stirring. "Wouldn't that be soooo special?" "Wouldn't that be what CLOSE daddies and daughters do?"

So I nonchalantly brought the pretty purple paper to my husband's attention. And without trying to show the anxiousness in my voice I said, "Is this something you would be interested in?"

He glanced at it and said, "Sure."

I did a double take. I have the best husband in the world, but he isn't known for his love of dancing. In fact Dan never attended a single high school dance, and he danced the minimum required dances at our wedding (but to his credit, that might be because his mind was on the hotel room--if you know what I mean).

His agreeing to this was a big deal to me.

So as the days got closer, I could barely restrain myself from telling the girls. However, my eight years of Mommyhood have schooled me in avoiding the "How many days until Christmas" syndrome, so I knew to keep my mouth shut until the dance was close. Very, very close.

Finally I broke the news and the three little ladies were super excited. They began talking about dresses and hairdos. And when Dan came home from work that night, our four-year-old met him at the door. "Daddy could you put on your church clothes and come downstairs so we can practice our dance moves?"

The big night arrived and the girls were all ready. I was excited to spend a night grocery shopping with our little son who is still too young to beg to peruse the Barbie Aisle or to push the cart. The girls and Dan headed off in the White Horse of a Suburban. Dan told me later that half way down the hill they started fighting over who would get to dance with him first. The six-year-old quietly told the four-year-old "You probably don't want to go first because I don't think Dad knows any moves."

(Looking back, I'm thinking they may have thought the entire night was supposed to be choreographed.)

I headed out Walmart and had scarcely reached the parking lot when I got the first text: "They are so shy and sad. Lily is crying."

What??!! But they were excited!

Several more texts offered the same bleak outlook of three girls glued to their daddy's legs with tears streaming down their faces--and not in a sweet dance move way.

You see... Our three daughters picked my gender (being a girl) and every other trait they inherited came from Daddy. The biggest one is their shyness. Despite having dance moves planned, dresses donned, and hairdos that took several hours, when they hit the door to that gymnasium, they lost their nerve.

And it hit me. I should have known this. I should have seen it coming. But my preconceived notions of what they SHOULD be like totally outweighed my knowledge of who they really are. My husband and daughters are quiet around new situations and new people. They don't like attention in a crowd. They would rather be sideliners. At home or with family and friends they are completely different. But new situations are tough.

But you know what? Dan and the girls have a pretty great relationship despite this.

Dan has never missed their performances at school/church/sports. He is a good example to them. He loves to joke around and tease with them.

All three of the girls have gone on a one-on-one parent date EVERY SINGLE MONTH since they turned two years old. And 95 percent of the time, they pick Dad. They have gone boating. They have camped out in the back yard. They have built dog houses. They have made cakes. They have gone mini golfing. And doughnut eating. And they love nothing more than to curl up on the couch and watch a movie and eat candy with their dad. Now doesn't that sound about as perfect as it can get?

Well, needless to say, the four of them stuck out the dance for about an hour. And now that I think about it, I think that is just great!

When have your preconceived notions been proven wrong? Any tips on encouraging Daddy-Daughter relationships without going overboard?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Did the Kindle light your fire?

I know several of you got the new Kindle for Christmas. Me too. Me too.

I love it. It's so schnazzy and I feel all smart now. No, really, I do. (Except for when I'm yelling all the time "Aah, I didn't mean to hit that button!" No, I've never had a smart phone.)

But anywho, do you love it?

I've found I love reading magazines on it. Checking email. Playing games. Letting the kids watch movies. And browsing through the Amazon store. But as far as actually reading books, I'm still on the fence.

I think I might prefer the paper version.

It's just that even with the screen turned all the way down it kind of hurts my eyes at night. And the little percentage thing that tells you how far you are in a book just doesn't do it for me. I like to SEE my book with a bookmark in it and know I'm half way. I am ALWAYS accidentally highlighting things or turning the page when I don't mean to. Also, ebooks (at least the popular ones) don't seem to be a whole lot cheaper than regular books. I am enjoying lots of the classics for free though.

What's your thoughts? Did you love the e-reader as much as you thought you would?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Red Solo Cup

Photo from CMT

Wow, I rarely hate a song.

That's not true.

I often hate a song... But this one I really dislike.

Toby Keith's Red Solo Cup.

Have you heard it?

It's just about those little red Solo cups you buy at Walmart for barbecues and Christmas parties and high school keggers. But that's where the annoying part comes in: the song (and video) remind me of keggers and teenagers getting drunk and stuff like that. Which would be just fine were the song coming from someone of Justin Beiber's or Taylor Swift's age range.

But Toby's? Really?

Let me ask my loyal readers this. Do you remember your last few years of high school? There you were in your ___________________ (insert 1990s fashion here). You were hanging out at a party (insert judgmental comment here: "I never went to a party and I can't believe Maggie did either. Where's the "Unfollow" button!)
And some guy pulls up in his black Trans Am with an eagle painted on the hood and everyone was like

"Who is that guy?! I swear he's like 22 or something. Ewww!"

Well, when I hear Toby Keith singing Red Solo Cup all I can think of is that gross old guy at the high school party. Here are my version of the lyrics:

Red solo cup. I fill you up.
Let's have a party.
Because I am 50.
(and I Googled it--he really is 50)

Oh ya Red solo cup.

I'm not saying older folks shouldn't party. Heck we use our share of red Solo cups all the time (for seltzer water--haha just kidding. We drink a mean cup of Sprite over here!). I just get the creepy high school kegger vibe from this song, and for that, Toby is just too old.

I mean the video has girls in Daisy Dukes and bikini tops in it. I dare say those aren't his peers.

That and, any song that uses the word testicle in a rhyme just doesn't get my vote.

Heard any lame music lyrics lately? Or, have any awesome red solo cup memories of your own?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A ghetto-fantastic childhood

I had a friend in high school who lived right across the street. The first time I ever met him, it was late at night and I saw a kid hanging out his bedroom window smoking. We met awhile later and became the best of friends (--and don't worry, his smoking didn't rub off on me. In fact, I don't think it rubbed off on him much either).

Anyway, his family and my family were friends throughout all my teen years in Wyoming. We watched their house burn down while they were on vacation and had to call and tell them about it.

My friend must be visiting Cody because a few days ago on Facebook he posted a picture of the house I grew up in.

And here it is in all its glory:

My Facebook response went like this:
"Oh my gosh. Was it always that ghetto?"

It made me think about how our perception changes as we grow and start to see things through adult eyes.

I remember having friends who had really big and neat houses, but I don't remember ever being embarrassed of my own. I remember that our house cost my parents $45,000 to buy and it sat on an acre of land. I remember someone telling me their parents bought a house for $100,000 and I imagined it must be a mansion with marble columns on either side of the grand staircase.

I remember that the 8x8 laundry room in our house also served as a bedroom (for two people). It had no closet or dressers (I am just now wondering for the first time where all the clothes were). And we had an awesome game of using the string that hung from the lightbulb to swing from the top bunk to the top of the dryer.
I remember that the house was ALWAYS freezing. I remember my sister and I almost burning down the house once by starting a fire in the wood stove and leaving a full box of matches on top of the stove.
I remember the paint peeling on the front fence (which isn't there any more), and I remember EVERYONE drove into the little ditch when they pulled into our driveway. I remember the house was gray until my colorblind dad painted it the current color--PINK, if you ask me--but tan to him.

I remember my dad building the big metal shop in the back by hand and watching him walk across the super high trusses carrying two by fours. I remember the big addition he put on the back of the house over a span of eight years so that they could do it without debt.
I remember the summer my parents moved to Washington and I stayed in the house by myself at the age of 17. Man did I think I knew everything.

Did I think my life was ghetto back then?
Of course not.
Was it though?
I'm not sure.

Today I live on a nice Suburbia-ish street where each home is well maintained and under ten years old. We have sidewalks and vinyl siding and vaulted ceilings, and I still look at those nicer houses--the ones my friends live in or that I visit from time to time--and I feel envy. I feel like I don't have anything.
But I have so much.

Whether I came from Ghettoville or it's just turned to Ghettoville since we've been gone, who knows. Either way, I know I had a great childhood in that house. My parents worked really hard and sacrificed for us all the time. I have so many fond memories of growing up on that street, and I hope that's what happens to my kids too.

I hope they don't notice that the Suburban is getting close to its last leg. I hope they forgive me that sometimes their gifts are second hand, and that almost all of their clothes are hand-me-downs. I hope they are patient as we go through these lean college years and then the starting-a-new-career-at-close-to-40 years.

I may have been ghetto, who knows. We seem to have turned out all right.

Do you think your view of your childhood has changed now that you're an adult?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What's that book you're hiding under?

Photo from Seattle Library site

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you're going to write, you better read.

****In fact, my best writing procrastination tool is reading****

But anywho...

My favorite read of 2011 was the massive; the enormous; the 1000-paged:
The Pillars of the Earth
(Although the further I got into this book, the more rated R it seemed. Just warning ya... As much as I wanted to, I WILL NOT be watching the movie.)

Followed closely by:
The Help
The Guernsey Literary and Sweet Potato Peel Pie Society

Oh yeah, and
The End of Normal (it had the train wreck thing going on where I just couldn't look away).

The writing book I liked best was:
Writing the Breakout Novel

The two books EVERYONE else loved that just didn't do it for me:
Cutting For Stone (seriously, if I still hate it after I'm 300 pages in, I just can't go on)
******sorry, I really wanted to love it, and I am uber jealous and impressed with Ally Condie and her amazing success, but I just felt like everything was just a little too DESCRIBED. Does that make sense? Like, the main character might just describe the smell, sight and feel of the toilet paper because she was so in tune with every tiny detail*******

A few of the books I was bummed I had to put aside for naughtiness factor:
A Reliable Wife
Water for Elephants

And the book I still haven't gotten my hands on that I really want to read?

So, there you have it.

What did you love in 2011? What did you hate? What did EVERYONE else love that you just didn't get that into?