Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From Juliet's rose to a big ol' can-o-worms.

Preface:  Nothing serious today. No life affirmations or hidden morals. Just my mind wandering in it's normal nonsensical way!

Names. Been thinking about names this week. How they're chosen and how often they're changed.

I blame Shakespeare. I have a feeling he started this whole big mess with a little play called "Romeo and Juliet". "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Romeo's name had very negative connotations for the Father of his lady love. Why not change it? He'd still be he and she'd still be she and everything would be kosher, right? "I take thee at thy word: Call me but love and I'll be new baptized. Henceforth I never will be Romeo."

People are still changing names for one reason or another;  asserting their individuality, getting married, fleeing prosecution.
I was thinking of this Sunday while filling out a card at church. (We finally found a church! Woo, Hoo!!) Anywho, these days we're going by 'Ben and Angela'.

I remember sending out our wedding invitations and having a friend ask, "Who's Benjamin and when did you dump Joey?"  Benjamin Joey Smith has always been 'Joey' to me and family. But the Army only goes by the legal signature - so 'Ben' it is. I wanted a new name too, but my middle name is Darlene and I just don't feel like a Darlene. I considered 'Angelique', but I like to lounge around the house in sweats and tee shirts. This didn't seem like a very Angelique-ie thing to do.

Over the years, I've noticed several of my aunts and uncles tweaking their names a bit;
Suzie is now Sandra.
Freddie is now James.
Ross is now Marvin.
Anna Sue is now just Sue.

This is all fine and dandy. But if we're going to switch first names for middle names, middle names for first names, formal names for nick-names and back again, I'm going to need name tags at the next family reunion!

I've known a few people who have changed their name to something totally new and unique. Some were just for fun, but some were actually made legal! Oi.
Just to name a few;
'Cabbage' Root
'Crawdad' Sizemore
Dr. James James James
Krystal Shanda Leare
Crescent Dragonwagon
(I reiterate - oi!)

We've also seen a plethora of catchy business names during our travels!
Some of my fav's;
Jehovah Java - coffee shop in LA
Sumo to go-go - drive thru sushi place in GA
Mexi-go - taco stand in AL
Quick and easy Japaneezee - Japanese restaurant in GA
Divine Swine - BBQ place in MS
The Rehab Saloon - bar in FL
(On the parkway in Columbus, GA, there is a strip club called 'The Catwalk'. Right next door is a Veterinary Hospital. I just know there's some deep cosmic irony there.)

Gweneth Paltrow named her daughter 'Apple'. Demi Moore named her's 'Rumor'. There's a kid on Disney Channel named 'Sterling Knight' (seriously). I've known men named 'Shirley' and women named 'Michael'.  Who decided that 'Buffy' was a ditz and 'Gilbert' was a nerd? Just wondering.

Back to Willy and the 'rose'.  Shakespeare, with his 'any other name' biz, was letting us know that the name wasn't the end all, be all. The changing of a name doesn't in any way change who a person is inherently. I can call myself 'Angelique', or 'Darlene', or 'The Domestic Diva Formerly Known As Angie'. It doesn't matter. I am who I am.
And that's OK with me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Only Breakfast - I'm just sayin'.

So we went out for breakfast the other morning before hitting the "Wal of Marts" (nod to Amb;) for our bi-weekly shopping trip. All was bliss until I heard the total - $24.00!!!


Now, I'm not opposed to paying a fair price for a meal. But you gotta understand, this wasn't a  welcome-to-chez'blah-this-way-to-your-seat  kinda place. Nay, nay. This was a  walk-to-the-counter,  pray-they-get-the-order-rightcarry-a-tray-of-paper-wrapped-food  kinda place.

A quarter Benjamin?!? For one biscuit, a little sausage and something that passes for potatoes?

I guess I'm showing my age a little. I sound like my dad with the "When I was a boy..." syndrome. Although, when he was a boy, he could go to the square in Harrison and get four hamburgers and four cokes for $1.00!! How sweet is that?!

Are my girls destined to repeat the process when they hit their 40's? After paying the tab for their brood, will they breathe a heavy sigh and reminisce "Yep, breakfast was only 24 bucks when I was a kid!"

I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lee Anne

The coming of fall always puts me in a somewhat contemplative mood. Most people make New Years resolutions. I prefer quiet autumn reflections.

Holidays are a big deal at the Smith house. Labor Day usually kick starts the season with a good BBQ (This year hubby smoked a turkey to perfection!) followed by dragging out the boxes of red and gold leafy garlands, pumpkins, and scarecrows. We decorate the house and talk about who's going where this year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the girls try to decide what to be for Halloween, and of course, there's football!

Around this time is when I like to get away for a little quiet thinking. Introspection. Evaluate who I am, and how I got here. I don't have to go far - just sit on the porch with a cup of coffee, or take a stroll around the yard. I love these solitary moments. Just to take a deep breath and feel the world around me slow down.

This is not meant to be a time of deep melancholy, but as I'm sure you're aware, not all memories are good. And even good memories are sometimes marked with despair.

I have carried this photo around for years. It is torn and tattered and more precious to me than gold.
Lee Anne. She was my college roommate, my singing partner, and the dearest friend I've ever known. She was amazing. She had more maturity in her christian walk than you would ever expect from someone her age. She was sure of herself, yet humble. She had a quiet strength.

We were at Campellsville College together and spent a summer with the Campbellsville Singers performing in churches and counselling at children's camps. I cherish every hot sticky day spent with rowdy kids, and every buggy night doing bible studies in the cabins. From hiding undies in the freezer (in a block of ice, of course!), to trying to save a baby bird, we had a blast!

Lee Anne, Billy, Bill, me, John, and Jana - The Campbellsville College Singers. This was one of the best times of my life. Those of you who knew me in high school know what a big deal it is that I ever took the stage and tried out for this group. I couldn't believe it when I made the call-backs.  And being chosen in the end was a dream! There was a beautiful harmony between the girls, in every sense of the word. And how could you not melt for those guys; the teddy bear, the flirt and the comedian with his 'fun-glaftifs'!
There are very few moments in my life that I'd wish to re-visit, but Singers summer, maybe . . .

Time marches on, it always does. The six of us moved on to new places, new faces, new experiences.

Lee Anne flew to Arkansas to visit one summer. We took up like we'd never been apart. She joked all week about us 'hillbillies' trying to sell rocks.  

I joked about the 'yankees' who actually bought them! We talked about our hopes and dreams. We talked about all we wanted to accomplish in life. And when the time came;

I was in her wedding,
 (With Kathleen-1993)

                                                                                    she was in mine.

I'll never forget the day I got the call. Singer buddy Billy said, "We've had a tragedy."  I didn't want to hear it. Didn't want to accept it.
It was late fall 2001. America had been attacked. I had a 4 month old and a 27 month old and my husband was heading off to war. And now Lee Anne was gone. And for what? What conceivable good could ever come from this? Everything happening around me seemed so senseless.

Is it possible, I wonder, to have too much faith? Not in God, but in men. When do you say. "Enough!!" and walk away?

Lee Anne's faith was unwavering. She believed there was good in every man, even the man who took her life. And she believed that good was worth fighting for. Like I said, she was amazing.

Lee Anne is on my mind and in my heart every day of the year. But for a week or so at the start of  every fall, thoughts of her consume me. I remember the person she was and the experiences we shared. I think of her three handsome boys and long for them to know her as I did. I pray for her amazing parents Tom and Mary Anne who are now raising those boys.

Sufficient time has now passed that most of my remembrances are happy. Oh, there are the scattered tears, but mostly - smiles! Smiles about her penny loafers, her mushroom hair, and her no-make-up natural beauty. Smiles about climbing in dorm windows after missing curfew, picnics with friends at the lake, flirting with the cute doc at the blood drive. Seeing her face light up over Mickey Mouse, the Dallas Cowboys, or when talking about her family.

There's no question that I'm a better person for having known Lee Anne. She was, and is, an inspiration. And I dream of the day when I'll see her again.

Goofing in the dorm
Working one of our summer camps

Reception after our final concert -
someone was goosing me!

                          "I thank my God upon
                     every remembrance of you . . ."
                                         Phil 1:3 

Monday, September 6, 2010

'Tween' Fasions - I'm just sayin'!

Ok. I know that the economy has been pretty much in the toilet lately. And I understand that some businesses have had to scale back. But, seriously, is there some national denim shortage that I'm unaware of? Is fabric so precious these days that rationing is the only way to go?

If you have girls, you probably have some inkling of what I mean. For the last couple of years, it has been almost impossible to find an acceptable pair of shorts. Most of them look like they come from what I like to call the 'Daisy' line.

Exhibit "A"
Daisy Duke
Exhibit "B"
Daisy Mae

Please don't get me wrong! I want my girls to look cute and trendy, just modestly so.

Designers these days know that the way to sell clothing is to emulate celebrities. That's all well and good, depending on the celebrity they choose.

Honestly, when you tell the kids to go get dressed, which in-home version would you rather see:

Taylor Swift
Lady Gaga

I'm Just Sayin' . . .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Monogamy - sooo over rated.


Now stay calm! Before you brand me with a scarlet letter and start mourning the fate of my immortal soul, understand . . .

I'm referring to the expanded definition of monogamy:
     5 [muh-nog-uh-mee] noun - The state or quality of being loyal; faithful adherence.

This definition, and this one alone, can be stifling when coupled with a narrow mind or a blind eye. When dealing with the little things in life, variety is key! Change things up, be a swinger!

Take my cell phone for example. I had used a Motorola
Razor for years! When one would fall apart I'd buy another. The color might change, but that was as far as it went. I knew what I liked and was fiercely loyal, so why look around, right?
  Hellooo Gigi!
This is the new iPhone that has stolen my heart! It was an anniversary gift from Joe, and I absolutely LOVE it! He's been offering to buy me one for quite a while now, but I was set in my ways. Oi! When I think of what I was missing . . .

Restaurants are the same way. I have one fav dish that I order over and over. Why mess with a good thing? But seriously, being loyal to one menu item? Live it up! Try something new and exciting! Last time we went to Olive Garden, I passed on my usual grilled Chicken Alfredo and took up a delicious affair with the Chicken Gnocchi soup. Yumm-o!

I love football! But every year seems to be a challenge as far as loyalty is concerned. When you move as much as we do, there are a lot of teams to choose from. Do you stick with the previous state or try the new one? I know some people say that long-distance relationships can work. But for me, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.

Now I say again, this is only acceptable when dealing with the little things.

On the BIG things, I'm as chaste as they come!

I am faithful to my God - unshakably.
I am monogamous in my marriage, in every definition of the word - unwaveringly.
love my family - unconditionally.
I am loyal to my country - proudly.
It comes down to this: Open your eyes. Exercise your mind. Understand the BIG things in life and take a stand. Know why you believe what you believe. Is it habit or conviction? Faith and loyalty are precious commodities. Make sure you give them where merited.
As for the little things? Go ahead - have a fling.