It's officially my birthday and it's only fitting that I write this post. As Ani DiFranco says, "I am 32 flavors and then some". As my friends know, I tend to celebrate all month long because, well, why not! So, to celebrate my 32 flavors/years, I've decided to tell you 32 things about me, or just random things I think of. Enjoy!
1. I am addicted to sweet tea. I am aware of this and claim it proudly. If I had to move above the "sweet tea line" (somewhere around Richmond) I would be seriously annoyed but probably save lots of money from making my own tea.
2. I am thankful everyday that Bill moved to my part of the world in high school because otherwise I wouldn't have the most amazing husband in the world. He knows me and all my little/big quirks and loves me anyway and mostly thinks those things are cute. I can live with cute. Also, he's a fantastic dad to our two little fellas, a great cook, has the most perfect arms that wrap around me perfectly for lots of hugs, and he's funny. I love that he makes me laugh. Oh, and did I mention he's super smart? I love him. :-)
3. The first of my two boys, Jackson Shane, is my sweetpea. He is very loving, snuggly, inquisitive, kind, smart, friendly, adventurous, hilarious, and a great dancer. He has brought me so much joy and I am excited to see him grow in to the wonderful man I know he will be.
4. The second of my two boys, Myles William, is my little darlin'. He is very loving, outgoing, snuggly, smart, funny, sweet, and a little bit sneaky. It has been wonderful to watch him grow after jut having watch Jackson do all the same things and see how he does them his own way. He's also going to be a wonderful man and possibly a weight lifter.
5. I am just like my mother, and I'm not ashamed to admit that. She has inspired me from day one. She has alway told and shown me that I can do anything I put my mind to. She has taught me to be independent and to take care of myself. She has taught me to always question everything. She taught me how to love and care about others. She encouraged me when I played softball and field hockey, spent all my time taking pictures at a farm near our house and then wanted to pursue a career in photography, and was super excited when I discovered Women's Studies. She always tells me how proud of me she is and I know how important that is to do the same for my kids. Love you Momma!
6. I get my creativity from my Daddy. He can make probably anything. Whether it's cooking or crafting, he's my go to guide. When I had science fair projects he helped me make them. When I had to do a research paper in elementary school on a lighthouse in Egypt, he drew a picture to go on the cover. He's crafted with stained glass, cross-stitch, flags, jewelry, and most recently crochet. He's a wiz at puzzles and taught me a love of games. He went to all my ball and field hockey games yelling "Come on Baby Cakes!" (Yep) He shows me that he loves me through food and doing things for me. I love my Daddy!
7. I have a sister who is pretty much my complete opposite, but we're bonded by our happy memories growing up. We can usually talk about random stuff and always know what the other one is talking about. However, most recently I realized that I need to brush up on this. Must have been all those pregnancy hormones over the last few years working on my brain. We quote movies and thanks to Mom, always know a song for everything. I love her and want her to always be happy.
8. I get my love (and slight obsession) with office supplies from my Aunt Linda. She took me to work with her a few times and let me help her with Women's Club projects and I was hooked. Also, her office and craft space in her house is super organized. She organized my linen closet when we moved in our house and I have never been able to recreate what she was able to do. I should have taken a picture it was so impressive. Somehow, all those towels and sheets fit in there when she did it, but refuse to fit for me. She used to let me ride with her on the "peanut route" stocking local peanuts in stores near the North Carolina/Virginia border and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I miss our time together that we had on those trips. She's a feminist by definition and practice but would never admit it. She stands up for what she believes in and helps others. As we say in our family "she's just a christian martyr!". Sorry, inside joke.
9. I have lost a lot of loved ones in my life that I cherish and think of often. I lost my friend Betty when we were 13 because she needed a new heart and lungs. She was such a sweet person. I lost my Grandaddy Paul who I spent a LOT of time with that same year. He took me fishing and bought me cheeseburgers, Sundrop, and lottery tickets and spoiled me like grandparents should do. He drove as slow as hell and when he said he's be somewhere "predney" (which I later learned is a southern pronunciation of "presently") it would take him at least 30 minutes to drive a mile. I lost my Uncle Leon, Linda's husband, when I was making a cross country trip with Bill. We had hoped he'd make it until we at least got back from California, but we only made it to Fort Worth, Texas when we got the call that he had passed. He and I were pretty competitive when it came to playing cards. He called me "Pidgen" and I loved it. I tried keeping it as a nickname but it just wasn't the same. I now think of that as my name for who I was when I was growing up in the country. Haven't had a nickname since then and I'm ok with that. I lost my cousin Shane (Linda and Leon's son) who I loved dearly just a few years ago. This one hit me hard because he (supposedly) committed suicide. I will never believe it, but he lived a whole other life that I rarely got to see except when I went to visit. He was the closest thing I had to a brother and I miss him terribly. It still hurts to think about. Not long after Jackson was born we lost Bill's dad Billy. He was a very sweet man who loved to tell jokes. He loved calling us on Sunday morning and asking us trivia questions. He was very proud on those days when Bill knew the answer and I drew a blank. I see a lot of his wonderful qualities in Bill. These losses have had huge impacts on me but I try to keep their happy memories with me at all times and remember that instead of focusing on them not being here anymore. When I love, I love big and strong so that's probably why it hurts so much when I lose someone.
10. I try to see the best in everyone. When the guy hanging outside of the Walgreens asks me for $2 to catch the bus, I like to think he's actually going to use it to catch the bus and go somewhere good and give him the $2 if I have it. I make it my policy to help anyone if I can and not just for good karma, but because it's the right thing to do. Sure, I may be "taken" a few times, but those are fewer and farther between. I'd like to think people would do me the same kindness and see the best in me. We're not all perfect.
11. I'm an optimist. I believe things will always work out the way they're supposed to. When things don't go as planned, sure I get a little grumpy, but that's temporary. You gotta go with the flow and remember that everything happens for a reason.
12. I am in love with this writing thing. I never would have thought I would have had pieces I had written published on line here, and here, or here. Shameless plug. LOL I am having a lot of fun with this blog to. Thank you for reading!
13. My girlfriends keep me sane. I am lucky to have so many wonderful girlfriends in my life. I treasure each and every one of them. They each provide me a different source of empowerment and joy. I hope they would say the same about me. It is very important to me to be a great friend because I know how much I value them and their friendship. We may not always be able to hang out all the time, but it's nice to know that they love me and care about me and will be there if I need them. Plus, they're all hilarious. That's something they all have in common. They make me laugh/smile. Friends are one of my favorite parts of life.
14. I will always be a country girl at heart. Even though I spend most of my day inside, I would much rather be outside running through the woods taking pictures with my puppy dog at my side like I did growing up. I love the smell of peanuts and cotton being harvested by the tractors that eventually cause "country traffic jams". It makes me feel at home. There's also something wonderful about being able to see all the stars at night without a bunch of street lights and signs dimming them. If you haven't been to the country, you should make the trip.
15. Brownies and Oreos are a weakness of mine, but not always. I do have some self-control. Otherwise I would turn in to one.
16. I pick a new purse every year and my only standards are they have to have lots of pockets. Please refer to item #8 for explanation.
17. I believe in equal rights for all.
18. I AM A FEMINIST. The real definition of that is nicely put by Webster: the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. This does not mean I hate men (even if I didn't have a husband and two male children). This simply means that I question everything that says that women are or deserve less than men. I believe in not standing in the way of someone being who they are or loving who they love. It means that I value everyone and their experience and work for social justice for all.
19. I don't claim to know everything. I am a life-long learner. I enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people.
20. You may think I have a Southern accent now, but just wait til I get around my Daddy. Something about talking to him makes my accent thicker. I called him from France once and Bill watched in amazement as I transformed into the little country girl right before his eyes. I am aware that many people, especially my friends to the North, sometimes assume a Southern accent equals stupidity or just general unintelligence. This, my friends, is not true. I have a Masters degree to prove it.
21. I'm a friendly person. That's how I was raised and that's who I am. However, sometimes when I'm off in la-la land pondering gender stereotypes or something thought provoking, I have a very serious look on my face. This does not mean that I'm upset or angry, this just means I'm not paying attention to my face. A teacher in elementary school once told my parents that I had a problem with daydreaming. I disagree, I just like to ponder the big questions in life, or sometimes I've created a movie scene in my mind and am watching it play out. I'm creative like that. Maybe I'll work in movies in my next life. Cinematographer maybe? Or maybe the person who chooses the songs for the soundtrack? Anyway, once you get my attention you will see the smile return to my face.
22. I used to be shy, but I've grown out of most of that. However, who isn't a little nervous when meeting new people. You're not sure how to act, and for me, you don't always know how they stand on certain very important moral, social and political issues. It really could go either way.
23. I like hanging out at Starbucks (or another public place with free wifi) and writing. This is what I've been doing for the first part of my birthday and that makes me happy. Tomorrow I will be getting a massage and hanging out with friends so don't you worry about me. I find a variety of activities fun and relaxing.
24. I LOVE taking pictures, but I get annoyed when people tell me I should take a picture of something. It's not so much fun when it's your idea. You take the picture. And I don't mean annoyed as in we can't be friends anymore, I just mean I'll smile and take the picture and delete it later when you're not around.
25. I believe someone needs to invent a sarcasm font ASAP. Too many nuances get lost in translation when you're communicating online. Also, someone needs to fix auto-correct. I've never heard of half the word they suggest I must be meaning to type.
26. I like a variety of music and I could spend all day listening to it. For example, here are just a few of my Pandora stations: David Bowie, 90's R&B, Bikini Kill, Otis Redding, Relaxation, Alabama Shakes, Tune-Yards, 90's Alternative, Beyonce, Tom Waits, India Arie, Black Keys, The Breeders, Reba Mc Entire, Bruce Springsteen, Susan Tedeschi, and yes, I have a Birthday station. I like anything that makes you feel or want to get up and dance. In my next life i'd like to be able to sing. Things aren't looking up for that to happen in this lifetime, but I do sing in my car and to my kids.
27. I'm terrible and cleaning house, but I can organize it all day long. I'm thankful that Bill and I worked out an agreement that he will do the dishes and I will do the laundry. Jackson does like I did when I was little and tries to change the subject or distracts you if you ask him to clean his room. Why make your bed when you can crawl right back in to it just how you left it. ;-)
28. I "LOL" and use smiley faces WAY too much and I don't care. My cousin Katie pointed this out to me a few years ago and I still can't stop. I'm a happy person! Oh, and I use "!" too much too. (shrugs)
29. I worry way too much. But I'm working on that
30. I miss going to lots of concerts with Bill. We had some fun with those. My favorite concert I actually went to without him was The Breeders at the Orange Peel in Asheville. Although, seeing The Legwarmers at the Norva is a close second.
31. It makes me sad if I know someone doesn't like me. I'm not talking about internet trolls, they don't matter. I mean people I have to interact with on a regular basis. I'm only aware of one or two, but it bothers me to no end and I always feel I need to reach out and try to fix it instead of just thinking "to hell with them". You can't make everybody happy. So I just try not to think about it and continue trying to be a good person.
32. I am really surprised I came up with 32 things about me! I hope they were interesting. There's that worrying again.
One for good luck: I would appreciate it if people left comments on my blog posts. I haven't had one yet, but if someone posts something mean I will delete it. I don't like meanies.