Monday, December 15, 2008

Nervous Nellie

I know I haven’t blogged in a while, and really it’s because nothing has happened.

Well, except for the fact I am slowly (but surely) turning into my mother.

Now, there are many, many way I wish I were like my mother. I wish I could automatically put other people before myself. I wish I had confidence in God’s all-sustaining power. I wish I thought it was fun to clean the bathroom. But, I am still woefully lacking in those areas.

No, instead I am becoming a nervous driver.

While I was never a fan of merging or highway driving, I happily forged ahead in the wind, rain, sleet, and snow. I drove slowly but joyously, crooning along to my favorite country music.

After my accident, I became more aware of what could happen. I can’t tell you how many nightmares I’ve had of my car careening off the road (again) and crashing into buildings, people, and semi-trucks. My dreams have even changed with the seasons, as my latest nightmare car crash happened on snow covered hills!

My newfound nervousness has also slipped into my relationship with my husband.

Now, Brett is a good driver. He had driven us through many a snowstorm, heavy downpour, and over ice-slicked roads with steady aplomb. But now I find myself clutching the side of my seat and repeatedly reminding him to slow down.

This last time, as we were driving home from church last night, he turned slowly to me and said, “I AM slowing down, Juliet!”

He caught me off guard, and I started laughing as I remembered my dad saying the exact same words to my mom while he was driving.

Oh, I am becoming my mother.

We can only hope the rest of the good stuff will follow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Seven Things

I've been tagged by my friend Nicole, and have to follow the rules. Here they are –

Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their name as well as links to their blog. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I’m glad Nicole tagged me, since I didn’t have a great dream last night and had absolutely nothing to blog about today.

2. I met Nicole at a Mary Kay party, where I found out I was in the same elementary school class as her husband. I was Little Bo Peep in our kindergarten play, and he was my Little Boy Blue co-star!

3. The latest thing to get on my nerves is how people use some of the worst spelling and grammar, even thought I KNOW they completed the same high school level classes I did.

4. I’m pretty sure I know more about urban rabbits than most people.

5. I’m almost irrationally excited about seeing Aaron and Linda Sturgill this Christmas. They are one of the few…okay, the ONLY…“couple” friends we have. People usually only like one of us. Me, mostly. (I kid, I kid.)

6. The spiritual lesson I am in the middle of learning is…how to wait patiently on the Lord.

7. I always miss my sweet mother-in-law around the holidays, since she passed away in December of 2005. I rejoice that I will see her again someday!

I tag:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Camp Martyr Island

Starring Brad Pitt
Co-starring Kathy Bates

It was a large, sprawling island smack in the middle of the Caribbean. White sandy beaches lined the shore while the island itself towered tall with dormant volcanoes and mountain-like structures.

There were many man-made structures dotting the island. Every mile or so was a sturdy wooden cabin with a wide front porch stretching out towards the beaches. Inside the cabin were ten white rope hammocks hung from the ceiling, along with two private rooms on both sides, and a large bathroom with five curtained showers.

I was 14 years old. My best friend, Flare, lived in the cabin with me and eight other girls of varying ages. We had two camp counselors, one of whom was Kathy Bates. The other counselor was a thin, pinched woman who was mostly ambivalent towards us. The counselors slept in the two private rooms while the rest of sacked out on the surprisingly comfortable hammocks.

Except for the counselors, everyone on the island was an orphan. Our parents had been Christians who were martyred for their faith. In many cases, such as Flare’s, parents had been killed directly in front of their children to send the message that Christianity would not be tolerated under the new World Order.

All of the martyrs’ children were sent to this “camp,” far away from civilization, to be reshaped and reformed before reentering society. Children were kept on the island until they turned 22. If they renounced Christianity and endorsed the new World Order, they were allowed back in the world. If they didn’t, they were sent away, off the island, presumably to die.

There were over 5,000 children on the island. The children were divided into four teams, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Red. Your team was your family - unquestioning loyalty and blind following was encouraged.

Teams competed in two main challenges every two weeks. There was a scholastic challenge and a physical challenge. Winning either competition provided the entire team with extra rations and a traveling trophy.

Life on the island was very regimented. Every child, teen, and young adult had 10 hours of chores, interspersed with 5 hours of school. There was also a “chapel,” where we listened to messages from the new World Order four times a week. There were assigned times to eat, one “free” hour, and time to study/train for the team competitions.

Chores included food service, cleaning, laundry, ground maintenance, and hard labor. Each hour was actually only 50 minutes, at the end of which a loud bell would sound, allowing everyone ten minutes to get across the island for their next assignment.

For each girls’ cabin, there was a brother boys’ cabin. Our brother cabin had the requisite 10 boys, including Raymond, Chase, and Jonathan. Their counselor was Brad Pitt, and another man who I can’t recall.

Brad made the boys call him “Mr. Brad.” He was always driving the boys to work hard and win one of the competitions. When they didn’t excel, he would beat them with a bat he kept for just that purpose.

We were on the Green team. I was on the scholastic team with a specialty in Spelling/English, along with Amy (Math), Jonathan (Science), and Raymond (New History).

Flare was a fantastic swimmer, so she was on the physical team. Chase was also on the physical team as a sprinter.

Our scholastic team played through the rest of the Green cabins. We defeated Yellow, Blue, and then Red. We were champions!

But it wasn’t good enough for Mr. Brad who berated us at every turn, beating the boys for “resting on their laurels.”

Eventually, we hatched a plan to knock him off his soap box, but it backfired, causing him to come down even harder on us.

One of the girls in our cabin, Julie, was almost 22. She had decided to take the pledge to the New Order, and told us to “leave it to her.” She talked to her boyfriend, Oberto, on Red (scandalous crossing color lines like that!).

Oberto, also on the verge of 22, hid in the boys’ darkened cabin and knocked Mr. Brad unconscious, forcing him to be taken to a hospital off the island.

The next day, both Oberto and Julie took the pledge and where shipped off to rejoin society.
The rest of us went on with life on the island.

Some notes:
The girls from my cabin were Flare, Amy, Lacey, Julie, and Raza. There must have been four other girls, but I can’t recall them.

I only remember three “brothers,” even though there must have been ten.

Almost all of us spent our free hour on the beach. It was truly beautiful. The scholastic teams would joke that it was “unfair” since we studied in school rooms, and the athletic team got to practice along the beach.

We all wore sleeveless white T-shirts and khaki shorts. It was the only clothing available on the island.

Mr. Brad was truly nasty. He would get unreasonably angry all the time. Everyone was afraid of him. Even Kathy Bates.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Tag! I’m It!

Ooh-boy! Even though I now know they’re induced by my blood pressure medication, my vivid dreams still keep me on my toes.

I’m even considering using “tags” for these posts, since I know not everyone is interested in my brilliant, hilarious, and thought-provoking dreams.

I’ve never “tagged” anything else. I’ve never really thought I had enough categories.

Possible “tags”:
Ann-Marie complaining about loud, obnoxious children in public places
Ann-Marie complaining about children’s lackadaisical parents
Ann-Marie complaining about infertility
Ann-Marie memorializing one dead person or another
Ann-Marie composing a sappy poem, since she’s too cheap to buy a real gift

And, of course:

Ann-Marie’s medically-induced, whacked-out dreams

But these little gems just keep coming. This latest one featured Brad Pitt as my CAMP COUNSELOR. I am not kidding.

We both wore khaki shorts and everything. Oh, and my best friend’s name was Flare.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Next post – Camp Martyr with Brad Pitt! On an island!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Thanks, Tears & Telling

I want to thank all of the people who commented on my last post.

Infertility is an ever-shifting, changing weight in my life. The uncertainty and emotional upheaval often send me spiraling into a crash, such as the one at Hallmark.

But I assure you that, like 95% of the time, I am actually somewhat emotionally stable! Well, maybe 85% of the time.

Recently, I reconnected with my college friend, Valorie. Several of you asked me who she was after she commented on my last post. I’m both pleased and delighted to tell you she is the “infamous” Valorie who graciously introduced me to my husband in college!

She was the friend who talked me into participating in GYROFAD where my blind date was with the tall, hairy, bearded man, 9 years my senior, who would one day learn to use the dishwasher (I can dream, can’t I?).

In all seriousness, without God’s using Valorie, I wouldn’t have met Brett! And for that, I’m very thankful!

I say all this, because I was perusing Valorie’s blog, and came upon this post. I found myself smiling and laughing (not crying over a stuffed frog) at her story of a poignantly funny family conversation around the dining room table. I urge you to check it out!

P.S. – Valorie married a Moody “boy,” too. Her husband, Phil, was actually in our class (NOT 9 years her senior), and he always stood out to me as a very kind, decent, and funny person. I did kind of laugh to see that now – after all these years – Brett is completely clean-shaven, and Phil sports a beard! Ah, the irony!