Monday, December 31, 2007

In the end

I heard a song from my youth today with a beautiful line that sums up the end of the year...

"In the end I want to be standing at the beginning with you."

Welcome 2008!

2007 In-a-Glance

Remember when we were kids and you used to hear old people say "where has the time gone" and "the year flew by so fast". And you thought that only crazy old people said that. Remember?

After my freshman year in college I suddenly discovered what it meant when people said that. Because since that year, the time has flown by. 2007 has gone exceptionally fast in so many ways. We've had many ups and many downs. All in all we've made in through another year together and have lots of hope that 2008 will bring us the best new challenges.

The Anderson's 2007 In-a-Glance:

Got a new car...had three ice storms...sold our house...bought a new house...gave up potatoes for 4 months...John turned 30...attended Financial Peace University...saved money on our insurance...John got a promotion...I got a promotion...started and quit and started and quit Weight Watchers...went on a girl's trip to 17 books...bought a Wii...I turned 26...we celebrated 4 years of marriage...met lots of different mom got engaged...started to train to walk a half marathon and then quit...began eating dinner at the our new kitchen table...went on a real, live vacation with our own hotel room...learned to like a couple of wines...led Bible Hour...hosted a baby shower...lost the best dog in the world...drank enough Starbucks to supply a small country...John played a lot of golf...spent time with the Bladcox group...lost power (and our minds) for 36 hours...loved being a Sooner...watched both my parents turn 50...watched my sister turn 21...won some money on slots (well, that was just me)...and so many other highs and lows to think of

Another way to measure the year, here are all the places I traveled in 2007:
-Dallas (10 times)
-Norfolk (2 times)
-Atlanta (2 times)
-Charleston, WV (2 times)
-San Francisco

Thank you all for coming along for the ride and for listening to my whining and my sarcasm and my heartaches. And for celebrating and getting excited and sharing in our joy. Despite all the good times, I am ready to say Good Riddance 2007!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Even though I posted on Friday, I still feel like I've been away for a long time. I've actually been pretty distant from my computer this week. It sat on the floor of my bedroom and I didn't move it until tonight. If I checked e-mail, I had to lean down or sit on the floor to check. It made it pretty easy to stay away!

I finished up my 2007 vacation days starting on Friday, December 21st. Tomorrow I go back to work for the first time in over a week. I'm ready to have a reason to get up and do something during the day...but it has been an incredibly relaxing time for me. I always try to save several vacation days for this time of year. It's a time when I am home by myself during the days and can do whatever I want. I also have a new tradition of seeing movies by myself and I LOVE doing that!

My time off this past week has included (in no particular order):

-Seeing three movies in the theatre (P.S. I Love You, Charlie Wilson's War, The Great Debaters)
-I cleaned my closet out to make room for new clothes
-Spending Christmas Day with lots of family
-Shopping for last minute gifts
-Playing with my new camera and TomTom GPS system
-Hosting family dinner at our house for 10 people (don't worry, I ordered in)
-Watching many episodes of Full House
-And various other things
-Opening lots of presents
-Putting away all our Christmas decorations
-Spending time with my husband with very few fights (relaxation does that to you)
-Crying when my sister gave me the perfect gift: Celine Dion concert tickets (I don't care that it's was on my list of things to do before I die)
-Marveling at all the gift cards and then decided I'd rather lay in bed than go spend them
-Getting inseminated
-Sleeping...a LOT
-Meeting Friday Play Date in-person
-Opening up our guest bathroom to poor, waterless Blais family (be watching for a hilarious update on their very unhilarious situation)
-Getting through several episodes of "My So-Called Life"
-Loving my husband for his patience and understanding while I was trying to relax
-Eating the best dessert EVER, the White Chocolate Molten Cake at Chili's
-Eating lots of other deliciousness
-Ignoring the phone and internet
-Loving being lazy for days in a row but realized staying at home is not for me!

Oh, and my mom got engaged on Christmas Eve! Very excited for her and Bill....she deserves every happiness.

So....that's the excitement! I'm still messing with the camera, but one of my resolutions in 2008 (I'll post them all tomorrow) is to take more pictures and try to post pictures every week.

That's where I've been....but I'm back to work tomorrow and back to being up-to-speed on all things blog-related.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Philosophy of an almost 7-year-old

It was several years ago that John and I realized how in-tune our nephew, Easton was. He has always been a very bright kid, really likes being part of adult conversation. Most of you know that sarcasm is the key to conversing with Andersons and Gayles, and Easton has been working very hard to master it. He is almost 12 now.

Mason will be 7 in February. And while I knew he was starting to clue in to our conversations, Christmas day he sat me down to have a serious conversation and now I know he is officially listening to everything we say.

Obviously our doctor's appointment messed with the timing for both families on Christmas Day. So it was a topic of conversation, and everyone wanted to know what we'd found out. After presents had been opened and everyone was settled in with pie, Mason approached me in the living room with a very serious look. What follows is our conversation to the best of my memory.

Mason: "So I hear you guys are trying to have a baby." (this is an exact quote....imagine what was racing through my head!)

Me: "Well, yes, we are. We hope we'll have a baby next year."

Mason: (thinking) "Why?"

Me: "Well, because we like babies. Wouldn't you like to have a cousin?"

Mason: "I already have a cousin. I forgot her name, but I have a cousin."

Me: "Oh, you like cousins."

Mason: "Yeah. You know, I bet you won't have a baby. Want to know why?"

Me: "Why?"

Mason: "Because you're skinny. Only fat people have babies."

Me: "Well, sometimes skinny people can have babies. But they get kind of fat when the baby grows inside them."

Mason: "Well, I don't like being fat. That's why I don't eat chocolate. Chocolate makes you fat. That's why I only eat M&M's because it's just a little bit of chocolate."

Me: (thinking that makes good sense) "M&M's are good. But I don't think you have to worry about being fat. You're skinny."

Mason: "I know. It's because I only eat M&M's. If I were you I wouldn't have a baby. Stay skinny."

Me: "I'll think about that."

Mason: "I don't like babies. Want to know why?"

Me: "Why?"

Mason: "Because they are expensive. You have to buy them a lot of stuff. If I were you I'd save your money and spend it on yourself."

Me: "I'll take that into consideration."

Mason: "I'm going to go play now."

Me: "Ok."

I love that kid....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

One of my least favorite days in the year is the day after Christmas. It's incredibly depressing. You work and work in this spirit-filled frenzy for weeks, then you tear the wrapping off the presents and stuff yourself with turkey and watch the heck out of "A Christmas Story" and's over. Family goes home, people go back to work, and presents have to be organized and put away.

In the past, this day feels much like the hours after my wedding. One of John's favorite stories to tell....we were in the car and just barely out of Edmond on our way to Gainesville for our wedding night at a Bed and Breakfast. From Gainseville we would head to Galveston, TX and a cruise ship. Which is another disastrous story for another day. Anyway, we were barely out of Edmond before I had this wave of anxiety wash over me. Not like "oh, no, what have I done?". More like "I can't believe I've waited 22 years for this day and it's over and I'll never have another wedding again!". Unfortunately the wave hit me and forced tears and hysterics to ensue. And I was unable to communicate to John that I was happy to be married, just sad to see the day end.

We were just past Norman when he asked me if I wanted him to call the preacher and tell him not to send in the license and offered to take me back to my mom's.

But really, I was just upset the wedding dress was packed away, the guests were gone, and I didn't have any groom's cake. Later, we'd settled into the B&B and I was calmed down enough to go grab dinner at Applebee's and John asked me if I wanted to take my hair down before we ate. Which caused an entirely new set of tears because my hair, oh my beautiful hair, was the last piece of the wedding day!

After a good night's sleep I was much better to enjoy our disastrous honeymoon!

Anyway....the day after Christmas is a lot like that day. Now we have 365 days (Leap Year) until the next Christmas. My aunt and grandparents went home, and all our presents are piles in our bedroom that need to be sorted. Plus I went to see "P.S. I Love You" last night in the theatres (even though I was only halfway through the book) and that got me pretty emotional, too!

But this morning I didn't let myself get down and weepy. Nope...we had a doctor's appointment, which takes all the energy normally reserved for the Day After crash-and-burn and put it into making sure everything went right this morning. I'm actually pretty grateful for the distraction.

Yes, we did go to the doctor yesterday morning, the appointment lasted a total of 7 minutes and everything looked great. I woke up this morning, things still looking great and we did our second IUI. Now we wait for around 2 weeks for good news.

I already feel much less stressed and obsessive than I did the last time. It's nice because I'm able to talk about it--last time we tried keeping it from too many people because we'd hoped to provide our family with a Christmas surprise. This time....I'm laying it all out there and it's very therapeutic. Plus, I know what to expect this time and I won't be second-guessing every ache or tweak in my body for the next 14 days. My goal is to stay off all pregnancy and infertility websites for 14 days. We will see....

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! What did we get? Well, that post is coming soon complete with beautiful pictures from my AWESOME brand new digital camera (thanks Mom!). John and I are incredibly blessed....we got way more than we deserve. And I'm happy to show it off!

Coming soon....

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas! Now, let me probe your cervix...

Merry Christmas Eve!

Since John and I put up our tree well over a month ago, we've been waiting for this night for a while. I agree with John that this year has lost a lot of it's luster. Perhaps because Target and Wal-Mart are already selling out of their Valentine's stock. Or maybe because I stressed myself out about presents. Maybe because we've had ice storms and animal deaths and large doctors bills to cover our first attempt at intrauterine insemination (IUI) with no positive results that's brought the holiday spirit to all-time lows.

But, hey, that's ok. Because there's nothing like spending Christmas morning with your doctor instead of your family, with a nice ultrasound wand and a spirited shot in the rear! That's right--we have an early morning ultrasound appointment on Christmas day. It's the first step into our second attempt at an IUI. They'll check to see if everything looks good, give me a shot, and if all is well we'll go back in on Wednesday for the procedure. Hopefully this is NOT our new Christmas tradition.

I could tell you a lot about the last attempt and the roller coaster we've been on since switching doctors in October. But it doesn't matter and I've actually been too busy to dwell on it. Suffice to say we know we're at the right place, and we just pray now that it works for us. Do I believe it will? Not level of hope is pretty low. That doesn't mean it won't happen...but it seems at this point no amount of positive thinking or prayer works. I have my fingers crossed that I'll be proved wrong!

On a more positive note--Christmas is in full bloom! My grandparents and aunt are in town, so it's been a busy few days running around with them and enjoying their company. Our day is jam packed tomorrow with lots of love and family and plenty of presents! It's been fun to do last minute shopping, actually!

I attended a mere 3 parties this year. But I had a fabulous party outfit that was an early present from my aunt, courtesy of the White House/Black Market.

We've taken several friends and family for a "Holiday Lights" tour around Edmond and OKC. Our favorite stops include a huge house fully Griswold-ed out in Edmond, down to the end of every single branch on every tree. It's beautiful! Our other favorite--a spirited house that has it's own radio signal and dances to Christmas music! I highly recommend that house in Mesta Park neighborhood of OKC.

Well, I'd better get to bed. Merry Christmas Eve! Despite my sarcastic tone, I am filled with the Christmas spirit and ready for some fun, relaxing, Santa-filled family time!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Oh to be 16 again...

Seriously? SHE can get pregnant?

Fear of Flying

Poor, poor Charly is very nervous about her first time on an airplane. And it's her should not worry about air travel on your honeymoon! Although, to be honest Charly, holidays are a frustrating time to travel. I promise you'll have more trouble with the airports on the ground than the plane in the sky!

I started to leave Charly a comment with some suggestions and it got long. So I figured I would just post for all your enjoyment! I've been on more than 50 airplanes in 2007 (I was on 12 in a matter of four days a few months ago!), and I still don't like to fly.

However, I'm not having panic attacks or freaking out like I used to. Sometimes, I don't even really notice we're taking off anymore! As you fly more and more you start to get used to it.

Top 10 things I do and think to calm myself down:

1. Look for babies and small children on the plane. Some see this as an annoyance (crying and kicking). Not me...the more babies the better. Why? Because God wouldn't let a plane crash with a bunch of babies on it! (hey--it works for me).

2. I bring a book that I'm really involved in or excited to start reading. I start reading in the terminal and read right on through take-off. This may not work for you since it's your first flight, but it helps later.

3. If you experience turbulence, look around at the other people on the plane. If they're still sleeping or don't look up from their book, or don't seem're OK. Gage the feelings of your neighbors. It ALWAYS calms me down.

4. I've been on several flights where I was convinced I was about to crash to a fiery death. And it never happened. You have a better chance of being murdered than dying in a plane crash. Trust me...that thought helps.

5. The flight locations always determine my level of fear of terrorism. If you were flying from LA to NYC or vice versa, be worried. should be ok. Really, who is going to terrorize Wichita?

6. Sit on the aisle. Some people think the window seat is best but it's not. If you are in a water crash or your plane catches fire on the tarmac, you have a faster chance of getting out the emergency exits if you sit on the aisle and don't have to climb over others. However, sitting on the aisle does increase your chances of a hijacker taking you hostage or killing you as an example. But for the greatest chance of survival....aisle is best.

7. Speaking of emergency exits, don't sit there. Yeah, extra leg room...great. But if you're in an emergency--it means you're the last one out! Your best bet is to sit behind the exit seats for the fastest way out.

8. Try to fly in mid-morning. Still avoid a lot of the delay problems, and at the same time your plane has already had it's first flight for the day. You cut down on mechanical problems if it's already flown. It didn't blow up on the way to you, did it? Chances are it won't blow up on the way to your destination.

9. If you've made it to cruising altitude, you're likely ok. If your plane is going to blow up it will blow up in the beginning. So, let your nerves go away after about 10 minutes in the air.

10. If all else fails--take a benadryl. You may be spent for the better part of the day, but you'll sleep right through takeoff if you take about 20-3o minutes before takeoff!!

Remember--this is my crazy, maniacal mind. It is not based in science or any sort of logic. I also say a prayer every time before takeoff that goes a little something like this:

"God, please be with the pilots of this plane and the air traffic controllers that guide us to safety. Please be with the flight attendants that keep us calm. Please be with the maintenance men who work on the plane and be with the plane itself. Please allow us to arrive safely at our destination, and if not please forgive me of my sins and take me to live with you. In Jesus Name, Amen."

Every time. And that silly little prayer gives me a lot of peace, believe it or not!

Charly--you'll be fine!!! Have an amazing honeymoon, don't let the flight fear get in the way of enjoying my favorite city in the world. Hopefully you'll leave a true Manhattanite at heart!

Better photos of Simba (Thanks, Julia, for sending!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

All Dogs Go To Heaven

I was in the middle of a long, self-pitying post yesterday when I received a horrible call from my sister. Not entirely unexpected, but horrible nonetheless.

When I was 13, my mom brought home a new puppy. I was at the peak of my Jonathan Taylor Thomas obsession, "The Lion King" was the newest, hottest kids movie. My girlfriends and I had memorized every line, and caught "Home Improvement" week after week for that sexy 13-year-old. So, fittingly the new puppy was named Simba, after the Lion King.

He was the best natured, most wonderful dog I'd ever met. As you all know, I'm a serious cat person. So loving a dog up close and personal (loving from a distance isn't that hard) was an adjustment but he made it very easy.

On Friday night, my mom called to say she was taking Simba to the emergency vet because he was very, very sick. She asked me and Julia to come up there, as it may be the end for this almost-13-year-old love of our life. So we trekked up there crying, and got the wonderful news that nothing showed up in his bloodwork and it was probably a virus. We took him home.

Julia spent the day yesterday at mom's with Simba, and when she went to take a shower that evening she came out and Simba was gone. Just like that. We expected he wouldn't be with us much longer, but we didn't expect him gone so soon.

It's hard to imagine now what he was like when he was a puppy and full of energy. 3 years ago he got Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and lost the use of one of his back legs. So his whole body got achier and less used as he went on. He was happiest curled up on his bed or mom's bed, with the TV on and all his family at home. He was loving and perky and sweet and full of kisses to the very end.

I will miss him so much, and Mom's house won't be the same. I ache for my mom and my sister, who have spent more time and put more love into him for the last several years. But, all dogs go to Heaven, right? He'll be there waiting....

I have the most wonderful husband, my mom has the best boyfriend. They both came over for a trio of blubbering girls and helped us bury our best friend. I'll find a better picture...for now, this is our baby.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ice Storm Saga Day Three

Well, I'm at work today. There is power at the office, however there is no HEAT. In fact, the heat is "on" but blowing cold air. So I'm pretty sure it's colder here than at my house. But, we have internet and electricity so I guess I can't complain.

But I am. I'm going to complain because I'm FREEZING!

Last night was not too bad at all. In fact, I got the best night of sleep I've had in months. When I woke up this morning under all my thick covers with the cat curled up next to me, I was quite toasty. Which made it that much harder to get out of bed to come into work. But we have hot water, and I took a long steamy shower that warmed me right up.

I, like Emily, am a little depressed about all the spoiled food we'll have. I have a 16-pound turkey, a bag full of Blue and Gold Chicken Fingers, 2 pounds of brand new hamburger meat, a new jug of milk, butter, and more that are pretty much lost. And, do I have to throw out my jelly, ketchup, and other condiments? I wouldn't think those would go bad, but I don't know. I don't cook, remember?

I don't know if we'll stay at home tonight or not. We don't want to leave Faith (she's freezing, I can tell). So we might go stay at Liz and Nathan's since Faith has stayed there before and she would do ok in a separate, closed off room. My mom has power, but she has a dog so it would be hard to go over there. We'll see....maybe we'll just light candles and snuggle under blankets for another long cold night.

Question: our neighbors are not staying at their house right now, yet they have asked us to keep an eye on their house because they left their gas fireplace on to keep the house warm. Is it just me, or is it a fire hazard? John says no big deal...I think otherwise.

Also, is it ok to turn on your gas stove burners to warm up your kitchen, or are we once again looking at a fire hazard? John says no big deal...I think otherwise. Please respond...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Power Outage

Sorry no power since 11am this morning. Apparently my neighborhood had this happen back in January when we didn't live there and they were without power for four days!!

Today the office was closed. So I didn't go into work, and then the power went out, so wireless went out and eventually my computer. So I wrapped all my Christmas presents today and caught up on People magazine. Literally nothing else to do...

So...I'm taking a quick, WARM break at some friend's house before we head home to sleep by the fireplace in our dark, sad house...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas threw up in our delicious pumpkin bread I made from scratch!

Ice Storm 2007....volume 10 or 11

Faith and I are up early this Sunday morning, watching the weather. Ice Storm 2007 (it may be the 5th or 6th IS07 this year!) is shaping up to be slightly hazardous for most. We just had a thunderstorm by our house where it poured sleet and rain, which promptly froze to the roads.

We're staying in for today. Neither John nor I like to drive in rain, let alone freezing rain. And it keeps coming....who knows what it will be like in a few hours!

We had an awesome day yesterday. Gave us a glimpse into life with a 6-11 year old. We started the day by heading to Wal-Mart (I hate Wal-Mart) to see the Boy Scouts in action. Mason's cub scout troop was ringing the bell for Salvation Army. We, of course, made a donation because who can resist the faces of cub scouts and a little voice that says "Hi Aunt Jessica!".'s my lunch money for the whole week!!

Then we went to lunch with the cub scout, his family, and his fellow cub scout. We had about 2 hours downtime before heading to the YMCA to see Mason the cub scout turn into Mason the basketball phenom. He's definitely the best player on his team....made baskets left and right. Last year, Papa made a deal with Mason for $5 for every basket. The kid was making like $40 a game or more! This year, Papa said "he's a free agent" so we may just all have to chip in for a big present at the end of the season!

After that we went to see my sister's new apartment....her first time on her own and it looks like she's going to have a great place to live and a great roommate. Can't wait to see it unpacked and set up!

Finally, our night ended at Laser Quest for my friend, Cameron's, 9th birthday party. And, I have to tell you, I kick major butt at laser tag. Let's just say out of 32 players, I came in 5th, and then 3rd.

Yes....most of them were children. And, no, I took no mercy. Even on the little's a GAME. And I needed something I was good at besides Skee Ball. Don't challenge me to skee ball or laser tag, I will school you.

Also while we were there we noticed a man playing Dance, Dance Revolution in the lobby. He was really good and we thought maybe he practiced on his daughter's dance pad at home or something. But we soon realized....he didn't have a daughter. He wasn't at Laser Quest with a group or his children. He kept approaching girls in the 9-13-year-old range and asking them to play the game with him.

We began to call him Chester the Molester. We're pretty sure he was there scouting little girls. We saw him a little while later at Pizza Hut, by himself, playing Tetris on his phone. Chester had, in fact, been at Laser Quest for the entire evening BY HIMSELF. For me when I tell you that no one in his late 30s should be hanging out at Laser Quest alone asking little girls to play DDR with him.

Anyway...busy day! I'm glad we got out and about yesterday so it doesn't feel so bad to stay in the house today! Hopefully the storm will die down in time for work and CHRISTMAS PARTIES I have all week! And, please, no ice next week when I'm traveling!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I'm never eating pizza again

Maybe it's the time of year, but it also apparently seems to be the time for stories of the strange and weird. Here are some of the stories I've been tuning into today...

Wii for Physical Therapy
Why are we not stronger?! Hey, Derek, here's your excuse for buying a Wii and writing it off as a business expense!

Christmas shopping gone terribly wrong
Man, I wish my Christmas shopping was done...malls will now be as scary as high schools

Back from the dead and charged with fraud
Why, oh why, do people not escape to countries with no extradition agreements? People who fake their own death are just stupid.

Couple of dirty pizzas....
Santa gets naughty talking about pizza
Leave Santa alone already!

Emily....this might be something to consider!

And finally....we're in for a long weekend in Oklahoma. Buy your bottled water and matches while you can!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Warning...I'm emotional today

I often wonder what it's like to be a person who just doesn't care what others think.

I am so painfully not that way. I over analyze and take things personally and get hurt so easily, it can be crippling sometimes. E-mail and blogs have not made this any easier, as it's even harder when you can't see a person's expression or hear the tone in their voice.

But no, I spend most of my time obsessed with what others are thinking, and feeling weak.

In a way, I feel like it's good because I have a lot of empathy for others. I take their thoughts and feelings into account, I don't jump before I think. It's saved me several relationships. But I'm also not able to be honest about myself or my feelings or express when someone else has hurt me.

In response to my inability to communicate those difficult feelings, I often turn into myself and just avoid dealing with it. I'm a pushover. I steer clear of confrontation almost at all costs, which eats me up inside and drives my husband crazy (just as it drove my mom crazy for years, and my various close friends).

I don't stand up for myself, and I often let people convince me that a situation is my fault...even when it isn't. I'm not always an easy person to be around, I'll admit. But I think I'm genuinely a good person, a good friend, a good family member. I care, I'm easy to get along with, and I try to put others first.

The last 24 months have been just the latest in a series of self-discovery for me. Difficult situations will do that to you. I don't always know how to express how difficult things are for me, and fertility issues in particular can make you feel so incredibly selfish. It's literally the hardest thing I've ever gone through, month after month of waiting and researching and hoping and disappointment--all to no avail. I try to stay positive, I don't want people to feel sorry for me. Asking for prayers or help or a listening ear to talk about how I can't have a baby seems so, so, so petty to me....I truly think about all the other things in the world that are so much more important.

But to me, it's the most important thing. And I have to stop apologizing for feeling the way I feel, thinking the way I think, doing what I do.

And more than just in this particular situation. I have to stop apologizing for everything I feel or think or do. There has never, ever been a time where I've specifically, intentionally caused someone hurt or anguish. Never. I've caused a lot of hurt, but never intentionally. And I've spent so much time in prayer and meditation to understand the necessary relief that forgiveness can offer, and I've forgiven all that I can...even those that might not deserve it. The thoughts of anger and revenge don't haunt me or weigh me down like they used to.

It just feels like I'm at a point where I have to decide--do I care what people think or not? Am I going to sit here and continue to take it, sit here and continue to keep it all inside, sit here and continue to let people push me over, or am I going to confront my feelings and the people that cause them?

And I just don't's so much easier to just cry about it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ah, good times from North High

First of all, I just have to say my favorite signature line: Boomer Sooner!!! Big 12 champs!! Fiesta Bowl, here we come...I feel good about the matchup and just hope it ends up better than last year.

In other thoughts.....

Last night we were talking with some friends about our first vehicles. It's interesting because when you're 16 and 17-years old, it's like a rite of passage to have an old clunker. An old station wagon that takes three turns in the ignition to work. Or the El Camino with a horn that only works when you turn left. You know....something outrageous.

Unfortunately, my life was surrounded by 16-year-olds with Lexus', BMW's and Corvettes. I'm not even kidding..."roughing it" was getting a 2-year-old Chevy instead of one of the many new imports. Yes, I went to the rich kid's school.

So, it was with a mix of emotions that I accepted the offer from my dad to drive his truck my senior year. On the one hand, I finally didn't have to rely on friends for rides (I'd given up the bus after a humiliating freshman year--NO ONE rides the bus. Kind of like NO ONE lives in the dorms their sophomore year, but that's another story). On the other hand, it was a 1979 yellow Toyota pickup with a white camper shell on the back that I'm not sure ever came off.

My favorite (?) traumatizing memory of that old truck was that every afternoon after school, I would have to get in the back of the truck and dig out all the Wendy's and Sonic bags from lunch when the seniors went out. They'd come back and throw their trash in the back of my yellow nightmare and I'd be stuck cleaning it up. It took all I had not to throw it on top of the brand new Explorer and Lexus I parked next to. But, I guess it gave me character and at least I had a ride.

In truck also led me to write an article for the school newspaper. And after recounting my first adventure driving the truck, I won first place in a state journalism competition. I used to be such a good writer...I'd love to share with you all of my stories, but here is the one you'd really enjoy. You could tell it was really written for a blog post in the future, even though blogs didn't exist yet!

Parent Practices Car Tough Love
Should a Daughter Change a Tire--Even if She Cries?
By Jessica Pearson, North Staff Writer (1998)

My hair was tangled, my clothes dirty, and my face stained with mascara as each tear fell.

I'd never felt so alone. There was my dad, saying all he wanted to do was help me, so why wasn't he helping? I screamed at him and cried some more. He just looked at me and told me to keep trying.

There I was, standing in what felt like 158-degree weather, the sun beating down on me, trying to change the tire on the soon-to-be-mine truck.

For a year and a half I've been the proud owner of an Oklahoma State Drivers License, yet I've been "vehicularly" deprived. Now, my senior year, I had a job and the need for a car of my own.

Sounds easy, right? Well take it from a chronic spender; you can't buy a car without a lot of money. So, I was forced to ask my dad to borrow and care for his truck for a year.

This is no cruising, smooth truck though. We're talking a 1979 lemon-yellow Toyota pickup truck with a white camper on the back and rust spots to give it character. Not to mention its lack of air conditioning, heat, and push button radio, which furthers the charm. The worst part: it's standard transmission.

So I took a Saturday out of my social schedule and arranged for a driving lesson with my dad.

Though I'd been taught on an automatic, I figured, being a fast learner, I could pick up the art of shifting in no time. But my father wouldn't stop at just learning to drive the truck. I had to learn how to maintain and care for it as well. That includes changing a flat tire, checking the fluids and changing both the filter and oil.

So, that day, driving took us to some hole-in-the-wall town called Okarchee where he told me to pull over to the side of the road. We were going to change a tire.

Not bad, I thought; it's hot so I'll work harder, and we'll be on our way in no time.

Nope. Have you ever tried to change a tire? It's a complicated process of strength and endurance. Neither quality of which I possess. I'm a 5'4", 110-pound weakling who didn't even like dirt as a child. Watching me try to loosen a lugnut on the tire must have been comic.

I was kicking and screaming in frustration, jumping on the crowbar to knock the lugnut loose. The little lemon-yellow truck was rocking back and forth with every jump.

Well, finally I managed to pry the tire off. Then came removing the spare from its home beneath the truck. I put on yet another wrenching, crying, kicking, and screaming show.

Eventually I took the old tire off, put the new tire on, and I was done. It had been a long, hard, difficult job, but I had done it--sobbing my heart out the entire time.

I felt I had accomplished something. I had done sweaty, dirty work that I never thought of doing. I had always figured that if I ever had a flat tire, I could whip out a cell phone and call my dad, boyfriend, or some other guy to come and fix it for me.

But now I could do a co-called "man's" job.

My arms may have been sore, my eyes swollen from crying, and I might have been filthy, but I knew how to change a tire. And the worst afternoon of my life was over--at least until Dad gives me the next tough love lesson in maintaining an automobile.

Now, I just whip out my cell phone and call my husband. Why else would I have gotten married?!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

December 1st

On this first day of December, John and I ventured out to do some Christmas shopping. And it was busy and crowded and hot and busy and a took more than a little maneuvering to get through it....and I loved it.

Maybe because it was cold and rainy and felt like a December day. Maybe because I hadn't done much shopping at all. Maybe it was because it's FINALLY December and I don't feel so bad about focusing on Christmas. But I loved it and I could have gone to a million other places and been just fine.

We got a few decorations, but no gifts this time. We only have about 5 people left to buy for, so that's exciting.

AND, since it's the first day of December we got to open our advent calendars and eat chocolate!! It's my favorite part of early Christmas season....we've had true advent calendars from Germany since I was a little girl.

So, Merry December 1st. Settle in to ABC Family for a Christmas movie every night in their "25 Days of Christmas" celebration.

This Christmas will be a Christmas to Remember!!