This blog has been a lot of things. A love story. A new adventure. The journey of a woman becoming comfortable with who she is and what she believes in.

I don't write here as often as I used to, but the stories I've left on these pages have made me who I am. I come back occasionally to put down thoughts and stories.
Archive  •  RSS  •  Random

image

In Raleigh, a local landmark closed this week. Pantana Bob’s bar, commonly known as PB’s, had none of the ambiance or sanitation of the Glenwood South and warehouse district establishments. Instead it had sticky floors, disgusting bathrooms and a few dusty beer signs on the walls. But it had two things that few other bars in town had, really cheap beer and a really close proximity to campus.

For 25 years, PBs was part of the NC State University student experience. Since it closed it’s doors for the last time this week, I thought I’d share a story.

I went to PB’s one night with a group of girlfriends. I had just enough plastic cups full of cheap, domestic beer to feel chatty. The place was packed shoulder to shoulder when the DJ came over the microphone and said that they were giving away two tickets to a concert the next night. I don’t even remember what concert it was now, but I remember I wanted to go. The DJ announced they were going to have a competition for the tickets and were looking for four volunteers.

Before I even have time to change my mind, my friends pushed me towards the bar and I climbed on top of it. As soon as I stood up and looked down at the sea of inebriated people below me, I started to regret my decision.

The music started and the DJ announced that each of the four contestants would have their turn to dance to the music. At the end, the crowd would vote on the best dancer.

I wanted to get down at this point because I was none of the following:

a. a good dancer

b. drunk enough not to care that I wasn’t a good dancer

So I stood there, watching as each of my competitors gyrated and shook their booties to the song chosen for them. They were sexy dancing all over the place and I was completely regretting my decision to participate.

Then something wonderful happened. It was my turn to dance and what song does the DJ choose for me?

The Devil Went Down to Georgia by the Charlie Daniels Band. In that moment, something washed over me. Something brave.

I then proceed to spend the next few minutes clogging my little heart out. I did the complete opposite of sexy dancing. Stomping and stepping all over the end of that bar, I tried my hardest not to make eye contact with anyone or fall off.

My parents took clogging lessons when they were newlyweds. Growing up, my mom taught me all of the basic steps, including some of the fancier kick steps. I don’t know the formal names because I learned all of this barefoot on our back deck. I would practice all the time because it combined my favorite childhood activities of being loud and making spastic movements with my body.

And so, there on that bar I performed my first public clogging routine. All three of my competitors watched me in amused disgust. Clearly the point of the sexy dancing contest had been lost on me. What a loser.

But when it came time for the beer fueled crowd to vote on a winner, the DJ went down the line. Holding his hand over each girl as she reveled in the spotlight, egging them on to cheer louder.

When he got all the way to the end, and put his hand over my head, the loudest cheer of all went up. Two coveted tickets to a concert I don’t even remember were mine. I’d earned them by sacrificing every last cool point I had, but with my dignity still intact.

The doors at PB’s are now locked forever, but they say that if you put your ear against the door on a moonlit night, sometimes you can hear the echos of an undergrad stomping her heels with wild abandon on the sticky bar.

Love,

M

 

11/04/2013 11:52

This was the most defining song of my early twenties. On repeat for three years straight.

(Source: Spotify)

09/13/2012 08:06

Kerianne’s Boots

It was Kerianne’s birthday. I don’t remember which one - 22 maybe? We all lived in the Leadenhall house together and we made a BIG DEAL out of everyone’s birthday. Balloons, banners, special dinners - it was all part of the deal.

All the girls in the house threw in on a pair of gorgeous cowboy boots for Kerianne. She’d been wanting a pair for a long time and we were all broke enough that spending $140 on boots wasn’t going to happen on its own. On our way out of the parking lot at the western store where we bought the boots, we spotted a Big Lots and decide we should grab a card and some wrapping paper. Once inside, Krissy and I start laughing at some of the silly things for sale and decide we are going to mess with Kerianne a bit. We buy the most awful little gifts - among them a miniature shoe figurine, a small cabinet with a rooster on it, and best of all, a stretchy bracelet comprised of little picture frames.

Once we get home, we fill the tiny frames with all of our faces, plus Bailey (my dog) because there is one more frame than girls in our house. It’s hideous and amazing.

We all dressed up and went out to a nice tapas place for dinner. We then present her with our “gifts” and act as if we are so proud of them. Natasha can barely speak for fear of bursting into laughter. Krissy sells her chicken cabinet with an explanation “I thought about all the cabinets you have and how much you use them and when I saw this one with a rooster on it, I knew you had to have it”  I tell here that the shoe figurine is representative of her love of shoes.

We really play up the picture frame bracelet as a big deal and her eyes go wide when she opens it. Don’t you love it!?!? We ask and make her promise to wear it out that night - with all of our faces beaming back from the little plastic frames.

She was so gracious and we were all biting the inside of cheeks trying to keep back the laughter. At one point, I have to get up and go to the bathroom because I was literally about to burst into tears over how she was so sweetly trying to be appreciative of these horrible, tacky presents.

We get through dinner, and when we get outside we say to her “Kerianne. Those gifts we gave you were terrible.” No they weren’t! She said back. And we all start laughing hysterically. “Yes, they were!” we said back, “but here is your real gift!” and we pop the trunk and present her with the gorgeous cowboy boots.

She started jumping up and down and burst out laughing. “I was wondering what the heck was going on!!!” she said “they just didn’t seem like gifts you guys would buy!”.

Needless to say, it was a birthday to remember and a story we all giggle about whenever we get together.

Love,

M

08/29/2012 07:34

The Battle of Dreams and Wings.

Sometimes the fear sets in and I find myself staring at the wall in the dining room trying to find a name for the color. Putty. Sand. I feel panicky and overwhelmed and my first instinct is that I want to paint it.

The American Dream.

A house. a picket fence.

We have these things. and we earned them with our own hands (or rather our heads, if we’re splitting hairs here)

94 percent of the time, I marvel over this accomplishment.

Not because it’s anything noteworthy.

Lots of people buy houses (many of them bigger and more impressive than ours)

but it’s the fact that we did it.

you and i.

For some reason that feels particularly weighty.

When I think about how impractical and irresponsible we were in the beginning.

How one time when I was twenty I bought a bunch of clothes on a credit card and never paid the bill. (I didn’t pay a lot of bills back then)

Or how you never really had to be responsible for much but yourself for a lot of years.

How we never saved any money. spent every dime.

But we figured it the hell out, didn’t we babe?

We got our heads in the game when we decided to make a life together and we started to sweep up the mess and hang a photo or two on the walls.

You took me from a girl to a woman with all your ideas and hopes and the pile of dreams we kept adding to.

I welcomed you to your first responsibility… me.

And somehow, as the years passed and we grew accustomed to being a Mr. and Mrs. and a mama and daddy we took enough right turns to buy ourselves a little house.

We signed our names on the dotted line.

Do you remember how complex those feelings felt as they fell down on our shoulders? A wish. A dream. A reality. A responsibility. Heavy and beautiful.

And so 94% of the time, we walk around with our fingertips dragging the walls, feeling the old bones of this place that belongs to us now. Where we hold on to plans to paint over this color in the dining room with no name. And where we mark our children’s heights on the door frame in the kitchen.

but that 6% of me. It’s the part of me that still exists in the world you found me in.

The one that still is trying to find her feet and feel comfortable with these deep roots we’ve laid down.

Sometimes I wish we could pack up the kids and a couple of suitcases and set off for something unknown. Sell it all. Shed everything but ourselves. And find a place that doesn’t come with a contract or a commitment or an initial here, please.

I hold my breath that the roof will make it a few more years before it needs replacing. I lie in bed at night wondering what we would do if I lost my job. I wonder if it’s safer to never tie your dreams down to a pile of bricks.

But then I find myself daydreaming through the kitchen window about growing grass in the wasteland that is our backyard. And watching the way our magnolia tree dances in the wind. Our magnolia tree (It’s ours, baby, OURS!). And oh, how lovely the echo of our children’s voices sound as they bounce down the stairwell and through the halls. My thoughts linger on how perfect our front porch is for watching rainstorms.

And I realize that the 94% is always right. We all need a little bit of fear to remind ourselves why we do what we do everyday. Why we work hard and we take the risk. Why we decide to sign on the dotted line. A little fear moves us - not away from our dreams, but straight into them.

Love,

M

07/25/2012 14:00
“The whole problem with the world is that fools & fanatics are so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”
— Bertrand Russell.
07/24/2012 20:32

I Don’t Make Resolutions…

at least not the year over year kind. But here’s 5 things I’d like to accomplish in 2012. 

1. Take the kids somewhere cool in an RV. 

2. Grow a garden big enough that I can share with our new neighbors.

3. Host a dinner party at least every 3 months.

4. Get drunk. ( I know this sounds absurd, but I haven’t done it in three years -what with all the baby growing, baby feeding & baby caring I’ve been responsible for. I drank a cocktail a little fast at dinner with Brent the other night & got so warm and fuzzy feeling for a bit. I kept thinking that I owe it to myself to send both kids to the grandparents one night so that we can let loose and get completely, laugh at everything- I want to dance by myself on the sidewalk- can I sleep in your lap on the way home-silly drunk. )

5. Write letters to people I love and mail them off. It’s been far too long since I took the time to do something like that. 

02/10/2012 20:08

This is a love story.

It’s about our friends Mark and Giulia and the courageous journey they took through and out of the dark, steep path of mental illness. I think like most of their friends, we never could have imagined that the always smiling, full of energy Giulia that we had grown to love during our time in San Francisco could be going through this. It felt so sudden. So unexpected. I remember getting the email from Mark that Giulia had been hospitalized and I must have read it a dozen times. I just couldn’t comprehend what they were going through and I didn’t know what to do or what to say. 

Months went by and we only got to see the outermost layer of the battle Mark and Giulia were fighting. Eventually, as Giulia began to find her way through, they did something drastic. They put their lives on hold and went on an around the world trip. We all followed their journey on twitter and their blog. I saw photos of my sweet friend with her hair whipping across her glowing cheeks, that familiar smile returning to her face.

So often in marriage, when the true test of commitment to a spouse is tested, things fall apart. I can thing of few things as devastating as losing a bright, witty, charming wife to the black hole of mental illness -  to have her there physically but somewhere far away mentally.

But Mark fought. and Giulia fought. and they found their way back. Their journey is more heroic than all the fairytales and story books ever written. It’s love. at its best and worst. and it deserves to be shared.

Love,

M

01/17/2012 17:40
I have one too many lace slips and dresses as it is, but oh, this one. 
oh. oh. oh.
Dresses like this remind me that sometimes, it is the loveliest thing ever to be a woman.
Love,
M

I have one too many lace slips and dresses as it is, but oh, this one

oh. oh. oh.

Dresses like this remind me that sometimes, it is the loveliest thing ever to be a woman.

Love,

M

01/16/2012 19:09

Marriage.

I hate when we argue, but most often, it is the thing that reminds us we are human. For so long we were a couple and then our eyes blinked closed and they opened to us with a baby on each hip, an official new title: mama. daddy. and less time than we’d ever had before for our individual selves and our relationship.

This is nothing new and it’s nothing unexpected. I remember feeling that people who reckoned themselves to giving up parts of their relationships because of their children were just flat out wrong and they weren’t trying hard enough.

But I know differently now. Because we try as hard as you can imagine to stay connected to one another while keeping all of our plates spinning, little bodies washed, bellies fed, naptimes and bedtimes on schedule and on any given day, it’s hard as hell to feel like I’ve been really, truly inside of your head and arms and mouth.

So when there have been too many moments since your arms wrapped around my shoulders or I’ve rubbed the scruff of your chin against my forehead, we sometimes find ourselves tearing away at one another because all the frustration has to go somewhere and we’re each other’s easiest and most accessible target.

But when anger flashes in my eyes, when frustration flies from your lips, I am never scared. Because we built this house of our marriage to withstand a rainstorm, a flood, wind and limbs and leaves. You laid the bricks and I poured the morter. And I know that one of us will walk away. and we both will breath. and always, every single time,  I’ll find that place in the curve of your body that God made just to shelter me.

So we go on, being human. Living with our imperfect selves. Recognizing each other’s weaknesses and loving despite. Creating our balance. Fighting sometimes. Forgiving always. The day in, day out of for better and for worse. Sometimes sacrificing small parts of ourselves for each other and our children and in turn receiving the overwhelming gifts of this life together.

Our one certainty: We are in this together. And you will make me cry and I will make you furious and we will laugh and live the best we can. We always make it work. Because when the dust clears we are left standing here with the each other and the truth. No other could love me as you do. No other could love you as I do.

I’ll ask “I’m stuck with you, aren’t I?” and your eyes will narrow and your lips will turn up at the corners and you’ll say “Afraid so, babe.” and it’s a beautiful thing to realize every.single.time.

Love,

M

01/09/2012 13:40

FILE UNDER: Awesome people.

Lulu is a single mom who’d gone back to school and didn’t have the time or interest in working full-time to pay for rent. So when she had to move out of her more conventional home, she decided to move herself and her daughter into a shipping container.
With no building experience, Lulu spent just one month cutting windows and a door and installing insulation and a basic kitchen (complete with propane-powered campstove and on-demand water heater). 
Then she and her daughter moved into the 8 by 20 foot square foot home, fitting a bed, couch, bookshelf and kitchen cabinets into the 160 square foot box.
When Lulu decided they needed a bit more space, she went from shipping to trucking waste and began to build their bedroom on a used flatbed trailer.
"It’s really mostly built like a shed. It’s a nice looking shed, but it’s really an 8 by 16 shed with windows in it."
Using only recycled building materials- including used floorboards, windows, cabinets, doors, bathtub, toilet and sinks- she built the entire thing for about $4,000 (trailer included).

12/07/2011 18:11

I nearly gave myself an asthma attack watching this video (and it’s been a long, long time since I’ve done that). If you need a laugh tonight, well here you go.

Love,

M

12/06/2011 18:18

My husband

Brent: •I saw a yard maintenance company the other day with the worst name. Yardnique. Like unique but with yards.
Me: •Yeah, that's bad.
Brent: •I immediately came up with a better one to replace it
Me: •what?
Brent: •Lawn time coming
Me: •...
10/27/2011 19:35


Theme design by Jackie Garlich, modified from Robert Boylan
Banner design by Tiffany Thornton


MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected