Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sometimes, Right in the Middle of an Ordinary Life, Love Hands You a Fairy Tale

First, before we get started I would to say Congratulations to the South Caroline Gamecocks for claiming the College World Series last night, in 11 innings. I wish you had done it in 9 so I could have gone to bed at my regularly scheduled time, but props to you anyway. Also, no offense to the new National Champs, but I think the best visual of the ENTIRE game was the first UCLA player the camera cut to after the final run came in. His face wasn't streaked with tears, his hand was not wrapped from where he punched the bench (like one of his less than bright teammates), and he was not saying a curse word. His eyebrows raised and his lips pursed in an unmistakable "well, that sucks." IT WAS PRICELESS! If I could have paused the screen right then and there I would have saved that image. It was great. Thank you.

Second, as an update, my phone company has solved my little problem with very little prodding. I didn't have to be mean to anybody. It was nice. Thanks, Raymond from Customer Service, you don't suck at life. Congrats on that.

Now, to the business at hand. There are a couple of blogs I like to read on occasion. One is Boo Mama (www.boomama.net). She is HILARIOUS and AWESOME. I began reading her blog because my mom suggested it, and she was so on the money about that, that I decided to be crazy and take her advice again (stop the presses!). I began reading Confessions of a Pioneer Woman (www.thepioneerwoman.com), who is also brilliant and terribly entertaining. I say terribly because I can get so wrapped up in reading her archives (after all, there is much that I have missed!) that hours can pass by before I even realize it.

Today I discovered that The Pioneer Woman has posted, in chapters, the riveting tale of how she met her husband and became the "accidental country girl" that she is today. I was glued. For hours. No, really. She was an independent young woman with no thoughts of falling in love (actually had planned against it), when love tracked her down like a bloodhound.

In reading her story, I couldn't help but think of my own adorable husband. When we went on our first date, I certainly wasn't thinking about marrying him. I thought he was beyond cute, and he made me laugh, but I wasn't exactly picking out the names of our kids yet. It didn't take too long though, before I began to realize that I felt differently about him than any other person with whose presence I had ever been graced.

I interject here to relay, for the internet folk who don't actually know me, that I, as an educated, intelligent human being, am in love with the concept of a fairy tale. I am probably the best fan the Walt Disney Company has EVER cultivated. That's a love affair all by itself. Belle (that would be the brunette bookworm turned princess in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) is easily my favorite princess - but I refuse to watch all the sequels because sequels ruin things, but that is a WHOLE other blog topic.

ANYWAY, I remember when I first realized that I was in sure 'nough, real deal, heart wrenching, nonsensical love. In that moment I was both terrified and elated. I had found my fairy tale, my Prince Charming. Mine talks a little more than the animated character, and sometimes acts more like a Beast than a prince (I love you!), but he is mine all mine. It was at this point in my day dream style walk down memory lane that I remembered a quote that I fell in love with the very moment I fell in love with my husband.

"Sometimes, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love hands us a fairy tale."

I particularly like this quote. Not because my life was ordinary (haha, me, ordinary), but because it was so true. Love is the kind of thing that just blindsides you. Out of nowhere. I was not looking for matrimony when I met my husband, I just wanted to go on a date with the cute guy. Boy was I in for it.

That's my piece. I've said it. It is simple and not incredibly exciting, but true. It is not when you are looking for love, or even longing for it that you find the one person you will eternally long for, even when they are sitting right beside you. Love is something that takes you by complete surprise when you least expect it. It's sneaky like that. They leave that part out in the fairy tales. I just thought you should know.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Unlimited Customer Service is Not a Service They Offer

So I am a little upset with my cell phone company. My bill has increased in two of the last three months. Not by much, mind you, mere cents, but it is the principle of the thing.

I have unlimited text, unlimited data, and enough rollover minutes to last me until the end of the earth, and yet my "other charges" have increased by around twenty cents on two occasions. I would be less upset about this if ANYONE at my phone company could tell me WHY this happened.

I tried to contact customer support at my yet unnamed phone company, whose favorite color is orange, but I was thwarted. That's right, thwarted. How? By LIES!

Their customer service and tech support chat hours are CLEARLY listed on the website. I tried to contact them over an HOUR AND A HALF before closing time (yes, I took into account the time zone change, I'm not a moron). What message was I given? They were closed, not available, gone. I am sure I don't need to say this, but I will. I WAS BEYOND ANNOYED.

This isn't over. I will wait until tomorrow. I will call earlier in the day. My question will be answered. Do not test me. I can and will take up your competitor on their offer to pay my early termination fee. Watch me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

And I Won't Forget the Men Who Died Who Gave That Right to Me...

Today is only Monday, and I am already excited about the weekend and counting down until Friday. I love a three day weekend like a fat kid loves cake. This particular three day weekend is especially amazing, though. Fireworks, hot dogs, baseball, weather so hot you could fry an egg on your forehead, Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to Be An American", this is what the Fourth of July weekend means to me. The weekend.

The Fourth of July itself means something entirely different. Yesterday at the church I attend, we had a "Patriotic Service". We took an opportunity to honor the men and women who serve, or have ever severed, in the US Military. I struggle during this service every year. The choir sings the official song that represents each branch, and at least one representative of each branch marches gallantly up the aisle and stands at attention. This group usually spans generations. It is enough to create a lump in your throat all by itself. My brother was in the Navy and I think it made him a better person. My cousin was a Marine, as was my grandfather. My grandfather has passed on and I miss him. At his funeral, my cousin, in his uniform, delivered the most heart wrenching eulogy I have ever heard and it ended a simple "Semper Fi, Grandaddy. Semper Fi."

My grandfather had long retired from service (he served in WWII) when he passed, but TAPS still played at his funeral. That is the saddest song I think I will ever hear.

During the Patriotic Service at church when the choir began to sing the Marines' Hymn, tears welled up in my eyes. When TAPS played at the end of that part of the service, I had to swallow hard and stare straight ahead and I still lost it a little.

This is what the Fourth of July means to me: a chance to enjoy the wonderful freedoms that others fought so hard to protect, and still protect today. Thank you.

I know it is still a few more days until Independence Day, but this is a chance, at least, for me to remind myself that the weekend is time for fun that should be enjoyed, but the Fourth of July is a day that should be honored and cherished.

And that's my soap box. Semper Fi.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What Do You Have To Say For Yourself?

So I have this theory that when I have passed on and am standing at the Pearly Gates I am going to look Peter in the eye and get a response of "Oh, it's you." At this point, I will be instantaneously transported to the fifty yard line of a large football stadium. It will be a packed house with an angel in every seat. Jesus will approach me in an indescribably majestic way and I will be overcome. At that moment he will raise his hand to reveal a large remote control which controls what plays on the jumbotron in the end zone. Various moments in my life when I have acted inappropriately, or have been horrible to another human being, will play and after each one the screen will be paused (for the especially bad moments, instant replay will be granted to give the angels a second chance for a collective "ohhhhhhh"). I will be asked, "And what you do have to say for yourself?" Of course, there is nothing that can be said, so I am sure my response will be simply, "Uhm,...I love you."

I tell you this because I have learned to identify the jumbotron moments in my life as they happen, which, generally, is too late. So, if you ever see me out on the street and hear me laugh and with a hint of remorse say that I will relive this moment on the jumbotron someday, know that it's my way of apologizing for my behavior.

Do you have any jumbotron moments or theories you would like to share?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Just Died A Little Inside

I have stated my fascination with the World Cup before and today was no different. My husband and I were completely enthralled by today's game. However, I died a little inside as the US fell to Ghana, in extra time. My heart broke a little in those last few minutes. My rage, on the other hand, flared every time a Ghana player took his sweet time getting up from an "injury". You're not hurt, get up. Especially when you run backwards into Landon Donovan and fall to the ground as if he tackled you. This isn't One Life to Live, you can tone down the drama. Also, do you really want the whole world to think that you could be taken down by Mighty Mouse? I mean, he's a talented player, but he's not exactly a big guy. Also, when nobody touches you, you fall down, and then spend nearly two whole minutes before the stretcher takes you off the field, AND THEN get up of your own volition, YOU ARE FAKING!! That guy is officially a better actor than most of the people in Hollywood! Ugh. Ridiculous. I know there are people out there who are smarter than me and have been soccer fans for much longer than me who claim that any team that is up in extra time would do the same to try to run time off the clock, but that doesn't make it right.

Oh, well. I only have to wait four years for the madness to begin again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Put Down the Phone and Nobody Gets Hurt…Hopefully

If you think there is something SO important in that text that it cannot wait until after you have arrived at your destination, why not just CALL the person? Honestly, I know that is a crazy notion in a world where people have very little human interaction, but really, texting while driving is unacceptable. When I am sitting in traffic behind people who have yet to learn how to merge, drive an appropriate speed, or actually even find that skinny pedal next to the brake, it grates my last nerve to see someone staring down at their phone typing away while cars pile up behind them. I’m not just ranting at teenagers. That’s right. I have seen middle aged men and women do it, too. I am not amused. You can disregard your own safety, but you are now endangering ALL of the other drivers on the road with you. STOP! Your driving skills aren’t that fantastic anyway. Trust me, you need to focus. And that’s my soap box.

So….Your Conference or Mine?

I should probably admit, right here, right now, that I am a sports fan. Well, let me clarify that statement. I am a COLLEGE sports fan. For the most part, I do not enjoy watching pro sports, because I feel that many pro athletes ruin the game with their pay strikes and complaints (no, I actually don’t know how much it costs to insure your fully loaded luxury SUV, and I have no sympathy for you either, since I am still driving a 2002 Ford – it’s not glamorous, but it’s paid for!). There are exceptions to this rule, however. World Cup Soccer is one of those exceptions. I don’t care what anyone says, that is AWESOME Stuff! Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Tim Howard, Oguchi Onyewu, and Landon Donovan are welcome to be guest bloggers ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!

Okay, having said that, I shall continue. As a fan of college sports I see what happened with the super conference that almost was, and I have so many things to say that you might want to have a seat, this could take a while. If you don’t know what I am talking about (where have you been? No, really, do you live under a rock??), ask the nearest sports enthusiast to you and I am sure they can explain it in great detail. Notice that I say ask the nearest sports enthusiast and not just the nearest male. This is because 1 – I am not sexist, and 2 – I am a female, and am perfectly capable of forming my own opinions on the subject, but I digress (again).

The thought of a Pac-16 makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t particularly like the idea of a super conference (not even if it is my own beloved SEC). I know it will happen eventually and the Big 12 (or whatever they want to call themselves now) has only postponed the inevitable. It is a sad truth in my eyes, but maybe I just have trouble with change. Or maybe it’s because I feel that if the Pac-10 added six good teams to their conference, their number of good teams would only total six (many of their current members are hit or miss, and let’s face it, USC was always a little overrated and now they are overrated and under sanctions. You can disagree if you feel the need, I know many loyal USC fans who will, but I stand by my statement).

Before all of these shenanigans took place, I had a lot more respect for the University of Texas. I have even been known to holler out (yes, holler, I am a Southerner) “HOOK ‘EM HORNS!” Now, however, that may be a thing of the past. The Longhorns have proven themselves to be the spoiled brat of their home conference. Power hungry, money grubbing, self righteous bulls with delusions of grandeur (see, I don’t just tear down USC, I am mean all around). Do they have every right to do as they please and go where the biggest opportunity for profit is? Absolutely. Do I have to respect them for it? Hell no. And the other schools in their conference are always complaining about Texas running everything, but where were they when Texas was ready to jump ship and move on to greener pastures? Oh wait. They were on their heels ready to follow the Longhorns wherever they shall go. Here’s a hint guys: if you want to make a name for yourself and stand out from the crowd, STOP FOLLOWING THE CROWD. I am just saying.

Kudos to Texas A&M (I am sorry, after my past of Longhorn loving, I cannot actually say that phrase that involves sticking my thumb in the air) for thinking outside the box. And I am not just saying that because they almost became one of my brethren by joining a conference that is already super (that’s right, I’m cheesy, get over it).

I know that while this round of musical conferences is over, it is not the last round. We will play again in a couple of years and certain conferences will implode, and others will simply be changed forever, but until then, I am glad we can all temporarily stop waiting for the other shoe to drop and get back to the actual fan part. While my own alma mater, Mississippi State University (stop snickering, I bleed Maroon), was not directly affected, my attention was divided, and I will have none of that. And that’s my soap box.

If You’re Still in Pampers, It’s Not Rock ‘n’ Roll

If you haven’t hit puberty yet, you are not a rock star. I don’t care if you are some kind of ridiculously talented prodigy, if you can’t drive a car, you can’t be a rock star. And I don’t think this rule should only apply to the rock genre. I’m not naming names, but I am just saying that if you are singing about how much you love someone, and that someone could be mistaken for your favorite teddy bear, you should probably wait until your voice changes to continue your career. I also think this rule would benefit the “artist”. Why? I am so glad you asked. Let me enlighten you. If you begin your career as a “tween” (can I just say how much I don’t like that term? I don’t know why, but it always induces an eye roll) then you are going to have an extremely difficult time getting the public to recognize you as an adult once you hit that little milestone. They will still expect you to be the same bright eyed, apple cheeked darling you always were, and wearing stripper-esque outfits will not help them see this transition, but cause them to see you as a slut, rather than an adult. Also, if your parents ever start to see dollar signs when they look at you, you are probably going to have a rough relationship with them for the rest of your life. I’m not saying you can’t live your dream, but you may want to get a driver’s license first. And that’s my soap box.

Welcome to My Soap Box

Everybody has opinions. These are mine. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, without notice, and without sharing my reasons for doing so. Why? I can. This is my soap box. If you disagree, that is fine. It’s encouraged actually, as long as you have a legitimate reason to back up your case. Just for the record though, name calling, yelling, and hateful language do not classify as legitimate reasons. Again, this is my soap box, and that means I get to make all the rules. That is the beauty of The Soap Box, it’s all mine.

Not Fair. Not Balanced. Not Even News. All My Opinions, All The Time.