“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re being uncool…”

Today when I woke up still not feeling any better and sounding like Kathleen Turner on a bad day, I decided to finally call in sick.  After sleeping for a while I moved to the couch to settle in and watch HBO for the rest of the day.  I got lucky, and Almost Famous was on, the movie the quote up above is from. (Great movie and great soundtrack, by the way…)

We, yes we, are always trying to be cool.  Keeping our cool, playing it cool…  How many times have you repeated to yourself in your inner monologue, “Just be cool, just be cool.”? But by playing it cool all the time, I wonder how much of our true selves we are giving others. Are we cheating each other by always trying to be cool?  I think of my two sweet little girls. They certainly don’t want me to be cool, they want me to be their goofy Mommy. They want me to play with them, talk in silly voices, dance around and sing as loud (and as bad) as I can into the Barbie karaoke machine to “Born this Way”. It’s in those moments of dropping my guard and my pretenses, that I am truly “me” and am the best Mom I can be.

This blog is the same. Consider this my true currency, the true Shan.  If you like me… Cool.

-Shan

PS – In celebration of my 25th post I’d like to say thank you to the following folks: The fellow bloggers who have dropped by; pregoandtheloonheidijohannateeny bikini, shalinjena, lesleycarter, bewithus, mastermind, oneanna65, clotildajamcracker, igamemom, onceamonth4 , and my personal fave mandossun. Those that have commented; Dan, Marie, Stacy, Harold, Katie R, Katie M, Casey, Jessica, Maggie, Jackie and Mando. And to everyone else who has stopped by to read my blog, I appreciate all of you and hope you keep coming!

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WILOW – A Bunch of Random Stuff

Welcome to this week’s What I Learned on Wednesday post.  Today’s “learnings” if you will, are really just an odd compilation of things.  But, hey, at least it’s something, right?  What I would love, really love, is for you guys to start telling me what you learned, too.  I know you’re out there, so don’t be selfish and keep your learnings to yourself.  Your learnings could help other people learn.  Then it becomes one big learning factory!  So feel free to tag me in your own WILOW post, or comment on this one.  Let’s all become learned together.  (I just used the word “learn” in some form or fashion eight times, nine if you count the one I just used in this sentence.  That has to be a record of some sort.)

1.  Cold Weather becomes me – aside from making me sick and all…

Given what I just wrote, I’m not really sure how this will benefit anyone else, but my hair really loves this cold weather.  It’s keeping its curl, it’s bouncy, it’s shiny – I’m in hair love.  And thanks to Kate from thesmallthingsblog for teaching me how to fix it and what products to use (seriously, she’s awesome)!  The rest of me may feel like doodoo, but my hair is having a moment right now.

2.  Sometimes when a dry erase marker says on its label that it is dry erase, it is not telling you the truth.

I feel that this one is self-explanatory. But you should always do a spot check on a small section of the board before writing all over it, and then finding out later that the marker lied.

3.  Laughter is the best medicine.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have been feeling under the weather lately (I think it’s the Leo in me that loves all the attention or proper non-attention that one gets when they are sick), and that nothing seems to be working to cure what’s ailing me.

{Side note: isn’t it nice how when you’re sick the people who you prefer to avoid, avoid you so you don’t give them your “germs”; and the people who you truly care about and enjoy spending time with check on you to make sure you’re ok?}

Luckily I have some good pals at work who always find a way to make me laugh (love ‘em like play cousins – which to be honest, I don’t really know what that means, but one of the friends that makes me laugh says it and it sounds good so I thought I would use it, please accept my apologies if the term play cousin is in any way offensive), and two little girls and great hubby at home who do the same, and it really does make me feel better.   And if you don’t have anyone to laugh with, watch Anchorman or Old School.  Those two get me every time.

4.  If your nail polish stains your fingernails, clean them with peroxide.  Gets rid of the polish residue and leaves you with sparkly clean nails.

Male readers, you may not appreciate the value of this tip that I recently came across, but the women in your life will.  Learning factory my friends, learning factory… pass it on.

-Shan

This will be my sixth post in a row without a zombie reference.  I think that has to be some kind of record, too.  Oh wait, I just mentioned them.  Well shit…

Smells Like Teen Spirit – or in my case, Pre-Teen Spirit

Middle school – the most awkward years in one’s life, I believe.  All of a sudden boys are interesting, girls start wearing makeup and bras, cliques start to form… you get braces which go awesome with your glasses.  It’s just torture.  Looking back, I think the most mortifying moments of my life occurred in middle school. But, it was at this time that I think I really started to discover the kinds of music I loved, rather than just listening to what my parents listened to.  And with that, the Top 5 songs of my middle school years.

5. Digital Underground – The Humpty Dance/Young MC – Bust a Move

-In middle school I went to Cotillion, this dance thing that you had to be invited to, so of course I felt all cool to be a part of it.  They brought a bunch of kids from all over the city together for a spring dance and a fall dance.  Both of these songs would get us dancing like fools.  And Young MC had the best lyric of all time, with my favorite color no less, “She’s dressed in yellow, she says hello, come sit next to me you fine fellow.”  I have that song stuck in my head now, I’m so totally going to have to create a Young MC station on my Pandora so I can jam out.

4. George Strait – Amarillo by Morning

 – I may be confusing this memory with Freshman year in High School, but I think it was 8th grade where me, my sister, my best friend and her best friend decided to sing this song in a karaoke booth at the rodeo.  We were horrible and flubbed the lyrics and to this day when I hear this song, and in particular the lyric “When the sun is high in that Texas sky” I always want to say “When the sky is high”…  It’s one of those things that are only funny to those it happened to.

3. Vanilla Ice – Ice Ice Baby

 – Alright stop, collaborate and listen. Ice is back with a brand new invention.  Something, grabs a hold of me tightly, flow like a harpoon daily and nightly.  Will it ever stop, yo? I don’t know. Turn out the lights, and I’ll glow.  To the extreme I rock a mic like a vandal, light up the stage and wax a chump like a candle.

I could go on, but I think you got the point.  Who cares if he totally stole the riff from Queen (another one of my all time faves) and David Bowie, he rocked it.  Word to your mother.

2. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under the Bridge

 – I used to listen to this song all the time.  I taped it off the radio (yes, young ones, this was back in the day where you either had to go to the music store – a store where you went to buy music – or listen to the radio all day long and as soon as they started playing the song run to your boom box and record it) and then wore the tape out.  I’m sure my parents thought something was wrong with me.

1. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

 – I realize that it is totally cliché to have this song on any Top 5 list.  But the reason that this song always pops up is because it is totally awesome.  There was this girl, I don’t even remember her name, but she was always wearing the doc martins with plaid skirt, rock band t-shirt and colored hair – I’m sure you can totally picture the type.  And I remember the day she walked into class with a t-shirt on that had a picture of a naked baby with his little weenus showing and my teacher freaked out about the baby penis and made her turn her shirt inside out.  And I remember thinking , “I gotta check that band out” and my mind was forever blown.   

There you have it – the songs from the most awkward/embarrassing/uncomfortable years of my life.  But of course I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  Well, maybe for a million dollars.  I’ll enjoy seeing what your favorite “awkward years” songs were!

-Shan

Honorable Mention:

Wilson Philips – Hold On, Michael W Smith – Friends are Friends Forever & Place in this World, Beach Boys – I Get Around, B52s – Love Shack, Kris Kross – Jump, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Parents Just Don’t Understand

The Sickness…

I’ve been trying to fight it since the Monday before last.  It started with a sore throat and runny nose.  Then morphed into a full-blown cold monster last Monday.  Then mysteriously vanished.  I thought I was over it.  But I was wrong…

The sickness once again reared its ugly head yesterday, and is kicking my ass today.  Throat so sore that it hurts to swallow (and because I’m sick I’m ignoring the obvious joke there) and hurts to talk. My lymph nodes in my neck are clearly trying desperately to fight off some sort of infection and are swollen. I have the chills and burning eyes, and no energy whatsoever.

Luckily my step-dad is a physician, so I usually just call him up when I’m sick.  But today he advised me to actually go to a doctor.  So I’m going.  Ugh…  Going to the doctor can be so annoying.  Especially a clinic.  Where there are other sick people.  Where I might catch something far worse than the bacteria plaguing me right now.  Where they will probably tell me that nothing is wrong with me, just get plenty of rest and I’ll get better eventually.  Or, they will tell me I have the bird flu.  I’m not sure which is worse*…

-Shan

*Probably bird flu, which I’m hoping I don’t have.  But a blow to the ego can also be pretty bad, especially when you already feel like doodoo.

Update: I have a “severe” (their words) sinus infection judging from my swollen glands and high fever.  This was my diagnosis after they ruled out strep and the flu.  I guess it should comfort me that all I have is a puny infection, but I was really hoping for a free pass to lay around helpless and take the day off of work tomorrow.  Of course the doctor prescribed “rest” after they gave me the steroid shot in my hip (aka: ass) and offered to write me a note to excuse me from work (b/c apparently I’m 10).  But I’ll be powering through at work tomorrow, because when is the last time anyone called in sick with a sinus infection?

For Those About to Rock…

Happy day after Thanksgiving!  Hopefully everyone is stuffed full of turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie goodness.  I got to eat everything I was craving yesterday… except tamales.  I really wanted some good, greasy tamales.  But, alas, there was nary a tamale to be found this Thanksgiving.  I wasn’t really expecting anyone to have them, I just woke up really craving them for some reason.  And a day later, I still really want one (or six, maybe seven, don’t judge).  Maybe since Christmas is right around the corner my internal clock was slightly off and started craving the typically served-around-Christmastime food a day early.  I don’t really know, the origins of why I wanted a tamale are a mystery to me. But let me just say, if there are no tamales on Christmas, someone is going to pay.

While a post in tribute to the goodness that is a tamale is starting to sound intriguing to me, I actually wanted to post about one of my other favorite things.  Music.  Isn’t it funny how you can hear a song, any song, and you are instantly transported to a time and place in your life?  I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic lately, and while I’m not really sure what’s driving it (much like the tamale craving), it gave me an idea that I’ve been toying with.  The idea? Create a soundtrack of my life.  I know, how very High Fidelity of me, right? But I thought I’d start off easy with the Top 5 songs of my college years.

A little background – I’m a third generation Aggie (WHOOP).  For anyone unsure of what an Aggie is or the school affiliated, google it, it will explain some of my choices…

5. David Grey – Babylon OR Nelly Furtado – Like a Bird

– I realize I’m technically cheating by picking two songs as my #5, but both of these songs were songs I listened to at a similar time/point in my life and both evoke similar feelings.  On the long drives between home and college, or Austin, where my boyfriend was going to school, I would sing these songs as loud as I could and search for meaning in them.  Consider these the emo music of my day, I guess…

4. Nine Inch Nails – The Only Time

– During the summer I would come home and “intern” at the company my dad worked for.  My sister had the same “interning” gig, so we would oftentimes go to lunch together.  I had permanently borrowed my boyfriend’s Pretty Hate Machine CD (good thing he later married me and got it back) and she and I would jam out in my truck during lunch.  We particularly enjoyed this song, mostly the first two lines.

3. Robert Earl Keen – The Road Goes on Forever (And the Party Never Ends)

– Oh, how can you not love Robert Earl Keen?  Any one of his songs will take me back to the many fair grounds and amphitheaters I saw him perform in during my college days – but this one has always been my favorite, and was always his last song. When this song came on you knew it was time to drink up because the concert was over, but just like the song said, the party wasn’t ending yet.  In fact, it was just getting started.

2. The Rolling Stones – Honky Tonk Woman

– I think it would be safe to say that I hung out in a lot of honky tonks in college.  And all of them had this song on regular rotation.  It’s probably also safe to bet that the few still around, still do.  Ah, takes me back to the nights spent in smoky bars, drinking cheap beer and playing pool all night… and of course the more we drank, the better we played.

1. (The Greatest Band Ever) ACDC – Shook Me All Night Long

– So many great songs from this band (see title), but this song in particular just takes me back to college every time I hear it. Just the first few notes take me to a dance floor with my girlfriends, with EF doing her trademarked lasso move.  It’s also one of my most favorite songs ever. If I could dance to one song, just one song for the rest of my life, this song would be it.  It would also be my runway song.  You know, the song that if the opportunity to strut your stuff down the runway ever presented itself, you would want that song on the speakers?  Don’t act like you’ve never thought about it…

There you have it – the Top 5 songs of my college years, pretty eclectic bunch, but then, they all have me in common.

-Shan

Quick Honorable Mention Songs:

– Dixie Chicks – Fly, Jennifer Lopez – Waiting for Tonight, Tupac & Dr. Dre – California, Marylin Manson – The Beautiful People

What would your top songs be?  I’d love to hear ’em…

This is not a real post, but…

Have you ever been laying in bed perusing the internets (internets – blogs, Facebook, jcrew.com) on your phone because you’re too lazy to get up and reach for the laptop or iPad or whatever, and you drop your phone on your face? And it hits you in your nose and hurts like shit? And then you feel inspired to write about it but are still too lazy to get up and type it out so you type the whole thing on your phone while laying down so it takes like twice the time it would have taken you if you had just gotten off your butt and gotten the laptop in the first place? Yeah, me too…

-Shan

PS- WordPress informs me that this is my 20th post. But as this post is not a real post,  it doesn’t really count. We’ll celebrate that milestone with the next one!

WILOW – The Value of Good Friends

If last week was un-enlightening (yes, un-enlightening is a word – I just made it one), then this week felt the need to doubly enlighten me to make up for it.  This week, I have been reminded to appreciate the value of good friends.  So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, an ode to my fabulous friends…

First, to the Friends that Knew Me When:

– To KFM, the first friend I can remember. Who crank-called boys with me.  Who had braces the same time I did.  Who held my hand through my first heart-break, and my parents divorce. Who went through life with me.

– To KGH and EF, you crazy girls.  So many shennanigans with the two of you, and I am forever grateful for you helping me to “come out of my shell”.  I hope you know how lovely and talented you both are.

– To CAJ, my college compadre, what if we had never met in Accounting?  College would have been a lot less fun, that’s for sure. 🙂

I love you guys.

To my Girlfriends:

– The ladies who go watch Twilight with me. Who will talk about what celebrity is dating who, and “can you believe what they wore to the Oscars” for an hour with me. Who will drink wine with me while we commiserate about our husbands. Who I can ask if their child has had a rash “you know where” and they totally know where, and yes their child has had it, and here’s the name of the cream that cured it.

To my Brothers and Sisters:

– True, none of you really have a choice in the matter as you’re stuck with me for life, but I can’t imagine having a more awesome group of siblings, and a better set of Uncles and Aunts to my little girls.  They could not adore you guys more.  Being the oldest, it’s been pretty cool to watch each of you grow up and become adults.

To my Close Friends:

– The small group of girls and guys I can call on anytime and they’ll be there for me. The ones that will have a singing break with me. The folks that get me and don’t mind that I talk about weird things all the time.  Even if I don’t get to see a few of you that often, when we do, it’s like we hung out just yesterday, and I love that regardless of the time that passes, our friendship never wanes.

To my Very Best Friends Forever:

– To KHR, the most awesomest person a girl could ever have called a roommate. The one who I can always count on for sage best-friendly wisdom, the one who if I called her in the middle of the night she wouldn’t think twice about answering.  She’d be the one I’d call if I needed her to help me move a body, and she wouldn’t even ask me why she was helping me move a body until the deed was done.  Who never judges me and loves me for all my kooky-ness. I wish we lived closer together, I miss you so much.

– To M, the love of my life and best friend.  The father of my children. The one person in the world who knows me better than anyone, sometimes even better than I know myself. Who knew that when you walked onto my school bus all those years ago that you would be walking into my heart forever.  But I’m so glad you did.  I can’t imagine life without you. You’re my everything and I love you more than I can truly express.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you; here’s to past, present and future friends.

-Shan