Friday, April 29, 2011

The Birds and the Bees

    Some of the funniest stories I have ever been told are of how some of my friends first learned about the birds and the bees.  A lot of people (myself included) have little to no recollection of the very first time we were told the awful truth.  It seems that if you have a pretty clear memory of the "talk," your parents put it off so long that you probably already knew.  My understanding of the real deal was kind of an evolution. 

1.  The Early Years---
     I have this very, very faint memory of watching tv in our living room in Mobile.  My brain being what it is, the part that I remember most about this whole experience is that the woman on the screen was wearing a bandana on her head.  She had no hair, which I guess my Mom must have explained meant that she was very sick.  I decided then and there that I would never wear a bandana. 
     During this formative moment about future head pieces, I believe that I asked where babies come from.  This is where the memory ends.  That's it.  I have no idea what my Mom may or may not have said.  Knowing her, it was pretty straightforward and a bit on the clinical side.  Obviously I thought it was pretty dull because a bandana beat out that conversation for space in my permanent memory bank.

2.  The Revelation--
     Around fourth or fifth grade my Mom developed this horrible, life-shattering habit.  No, it wasn't heroin,  and she didn't develop a taste for the drink. 

So much worse.

     She would ensnare me on long road trips and talk about how I was going to start my period one day.  I would get hysterical, all but clawing my way out the car on I-65 and try to make her take it all back.  Occasionally she would relent with, "Ok, Laura, maybe you won't" so that I would raise my seat back up and stop humming.   Needless to say, I wasn't hearing any talk about my own or anyone else's body.

   Flash forward a year or so.  I had completely bypassed training bras and gone straight to the top of everyone's pool party invite list.  I was a most embarassed and begrudging VIP.  To all of you girls who dreamed of developing in middle school, count yourself lucky.  Boys in my class would call me the B-52 bomber.  No, that is not a human size, but it stung nonetheless. 
     I found this attention weird and confusing.  My friend at the time would've killed for it.  She was definitely more cosmopolitan than me.  She shaved her legs and knew about sex, which at that age, is basically the same as having your own apartment.  She asked me if I knew about the big IT and I was like, "Yeah, I know.  Fallopian tubes, sperm, tampax, clean your room, nine months, yada yada yada."  She realized that I was pretty much in the dark and proceeded to explain the deed.  I told her she was a liar and not funny and that that was impossible anyway.  Turns out, I was missing a lot of anatomical information.  Being a good friend and a prodigous artist, she shed some light on the situation by drawing the whole thing in sidewalk chalk on her parents' driveway.  I was truly horrified.  That night I bargained with God that I would never do that if he would take away periods and math class.

3.  Teenage Years--
     So let's add this up.  I was a young girl who had found out only a few years earlier that God has a strange sense of humor and that belly buttons are not, in fact, the magical portal to pregnancy.  By this point, every health and science class had pretty well convinced me that even thinking about sex will get you knocked up quicker than you can say unwed mother.  Our school allowed a program called You Are Unique to come and talk to us about saving ourselves for marriage.  This woman with the perkiest South Alabama Junior League accent told us a story about a young lady whose father...excuse me, let me do her justice...

      whose Daddeh had given her a beautiful strand of pulllls (pearls for those who don't speak Bama-nese)    to wear on her weddin' day.  This young lady, though, wore them out one night in high school and spilled punch on them. She put them away after that, but then she took them out anotha night in college where they were broken.  She put them back in the box.  Years later at her weddin', she was standing with her Daddeh at the church and he went to put her pullllls on, but they were too spoiled too wear.


4.  Adulthood--

    Well, I'm still snickering my way through life.  I have learned that you cannot get pregnant by merely being horizontal.  I get the reason for scaring teenage girls stupid by telling them that pregnancy will come and find them if they so much as speak its name.  I think, though, that when you get married and may want to have a baby, someone at the end of the aisle should say, "Nah, we were just playing."  I get a little nervous when I think about having to give the talk myself.  I'm scared it'll come out all wrong.  I just don't want them the think that if you don't wear a bandana while you're on your period, you might ruin your pearls and get pregnant.

Picture from here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

That's Bull

     I'd like to share a story.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it's one that you really had to be there for, but I'm gonna try to do it justice.  So, to start, Craig and I are in this prayer group that meets once a month or so.  Everyone in the group is a little bit older than us.  Ok, most of them are our parents' age or older.  We really enjoy it and were pretty honored to be invited to be a part of it.  Stop that, that's not the joke.  Now, among this group of people that are our parents' age and older, there are also two nuns and a lady that I'm pretty sure is the sweetest living person in the universe.  Like I said, we've really enjoyed it, but I will definitely admit that we make an effort to be on our best behavior and not highlight the maturity age difference.

    That's the backstory. 

    We had our meeting a week ago and we were discussing something as a group and a man starting sharing a story.  Now, let me say for the record, I really, really like this guy and what he was saying wasn't something to make fun of.  What he did next, though, leaves him wide open.  You see, this quiet, somewhat serious, man was trying to say that in this situation he was describing, he needed to grab the bull by the horns.  To emphasize his point, he even held his hands up in fists, you know, like grabbing bull horns.  I'm really hammering this home, because the part that follows is so much better when you realize how much of a mistake it was.  Anway, while he's making this bull/horn gesture, he has a completely unintentional mental mashup of phrases and says, "You've got to grab it by the bulls."


     Now, not that big of a deal, right?  Right, except it sounded like a Jersey Shore "grab it by the balls" if there ever was one.  I can %100 guarantee that not only was it not intentional, but it went unnoticed both by the man and the rest of the group.  The husband and I, however, not so much.  We both IMMEDIATELY shifted way too much in our chairs and started looking down to not get caught cracking up.  I went into full blowfish cheek mode trying not to start laughing out loud.

    I don't know, maybe you did have to be there, but there isn't much that's funnier than a straight laced guy saying balls in a Jersey accent in front of a prayer group with nuns in the mix, accident or not.  Happy Monday.  I hope you really grab Holy Week by the bulls!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Careful, It'll Make Ya Craaazy

Have you ever thought about....

--How many people have pictures where you're the crazy/creepy looking person in the background.  Similarly, how many homes might have a framed picture with your mug or behind in the background?

--Why informercials no longer say, "Sorry, no CODs."  Did they finally realize that no one currently alive on the planet has ever been allowed a COD purchase?

--How you can a hear a thing so many times that you just assume that it makes sense, when it doesn't at all.  For example, the line, "Maybe she's born with it" on an ad for deep purple nail polish.  For her sake, let's hope she wasn't, you know, born with it

--That all day, people think the same kinds of things about you that you think about them.  Ok, let's all agree to never think about that again.

--That your dog might kinda understand nudity.

--How if you still feel about the same as you always have, you'll probaby think and feel about how you do right now when you're elderly.  The next elderly person you meet feels more like you than you've ever imagined.  I mean, if you're lucky, you'll get to be one of them one day.  I could go on and on about this and other cheerful topics, but you didn't marry me, so I'll spare you.

--That there was a time when leaving the house without a phone didn't cause mild to moderate feelings of doom. 

--How "match light" charcoal is able to get away with calling itself that. It's not like the other kind lights up with a little prayer.

--How rough people must've looked and smelled through most of human history.  No showers or dental care, not mention how people got around without tampons, eye glasses, anesthesia, oh my!

--What would happen if you broke rank and made eye contact in an elevator.  Is that what makes them crash?  I'll never know.

--How, if Coke has this super secret fantastical formula under lock and key, why does it taste different in different regions?  Hmmm.  How important is your formula if you've got so many variations, Mr. a-Cola?

--That, as much as this is straddling the line between cute and obnoxious, you read this far anyway.  Thanks!

Photo from here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's In the Bag

When we first decided to get a dog, Craig was adamant that we didn't get one of those "stupid" dogs that rides around in a purse, as if the dog comes with specific purse instructions (double strap, supple leather, synthetic lining, with a hidden side pocket).  And anyway, I think I deserve a little more credit than that.  At the most, I would tie him up in a little napsack and carry him on the end of a stick like a hobo, but not in a purse.  I know that he wanted a huge dog that could fetch and maybe not do so much sneaking under the couch.  But in this house, with this yard, I just didn't think it would be fair to the dog.  Plus, one of the last times we were around a mammoth, it walked up behind me and put his front paws on my shoulders.  I don't want to rehash our whole relationship, but basically there was an involuntary interspecies conga line for a few seconds and I've been a little rattled since. 

Max ended up a little smaller than we expected, but perfect nonetheless.  He's never ridden in a purse (the poots!), but he is definitely a lap dog.  As karmic fate would have it, it's almost always Craig's lap.

And speaking of karma---

Memento: Other People's Treasure

Just as a little unnecessary forward, let me say that this is not a sad post, and doesn't have anything to do with my last two posts.  It's just another post about my many, many treasures that I've squirrelled away in Craig's closet.  The fact that the word baby appears in this and those is the only connection, emotional or otherwise.  It's my Dad's baby book that my grandmother kept.  I have strong sentimental connections to things that he had as an adult that remind me of him, or my time with him, or those things that reveal something about him that I didn't know.  This isn't really any of those things, so I haven't held onto to it because it has special meaning for me.  What I love about this little memento is how lovingly it was kept by my grandmother.  It was obviously one of her treasures, and for that reason, I can't part with it.  I can't remember how I got a hold of it, but along with it are pictures he drew in Sunday school and old baseball team photos, and even a little hat embroidered with "Tommy."  I think it's all sweet, but I'm planning on thinning it all out pretty soon.  One of the things I know I'll keep though, is this little book.  It's not even filled out past the first few pages, but my dad was her third and last child, so I'm impressed she managed to fill it in at all!  One of the best parts to me are all these sweet little congratulation cards that she kept from friends and family.  My grandmother was one to save things, too, and she used to show me her old pictures and treasures and trinkets from her life.  She kept these huge photo albums of each of her children and grandchildren, each carefully laid out and preserved.  Later in her life she had lost all of her memories, and it's really special to me to be able to hold onto a few for her.

I had no idea that Thomas was a family name.

And this, to me, was incredible.  I had no idea about a couple of these names and had forgotten the ones I knew.  I'm so glad to know my great-grandmothers' maiden names.  If I ever actually do half the things I say that I'm going to, I'm definitely going to do a little geneology research with this info. 

Fun Fact: The Britts (my grandfather Winard's parents) had ELEVEN children.  I used to think they just ran out of normal names around three of four.  Other than Winard, who's name GodBlessHim isn't going to be passed along through my line, there was also a Jasper (aka Red to my grandfather's Little Red), and Oberon, who was known to the family as Uncle OB.  There are also a whole mess of Lelas, Lilys, and Hazels in the mix.  I love it and I'm so glad she kept this book and that it wound up with me.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Brief Update

To all those who said something to me or Craig after reading my last post, thank you so much for your support.  To anyone who read it and said a prayer or wished us well, thank you also.  I especially appreciate people reaching out to Craig.  I think its a little easier to imagine how crushing it has been for me, but it was equally hard on him.  On top of his sadness about the loss, he also had to be (or at least thought he had to be) tough for me.  Through all of this he has had to go to work, pick up both of our slack on a charity project we're working on, and managed to get offered an interview for a fantastic job out of the blue.  Don't get me wrong, he's handled all of this really well, but he never had the opportunity to press pause like I did.  Anyway, thanks for showing support for him, too.

I had my surgery yesterday and everything went well.  I was in more pain than I expected yesterday afternoon, but I suspect that that was because I had made no headway on my own.  We took it easy all day and watched a marathon of Pawn Stars on the History Channel (one of my addictions), and were grateful that this part of this experience is behind us. 

Today, I woke up with different discomfort.  I feel like I was picked by my jaw and forced to do crunches.  Interpretation:  my jaw, neck, and ribs are super stiff and sore.  My mom assured me that this isn't a big deal and is probably the result of a less than graceful anesthetist.  Overall, I have nothing to complain about.  Everything went well.  In the grand scheme of things, it was a very minor surgery.  To be honest, I'm so glad that if this had to happen, it happened very early.  Thank God it wasn't later.  Thank God it wasn't our child in the hospital having surgery.  Thank God.  Thank God.  As you can see, I go back and forth between thinking this is the most awful thing that's happened to us, and knowing that there are far more painful things that people are facing right now, that I don't even know about.  This morning I said a prayer for all those who are suffering silently, and that includes any who may be reading this blog.