A day in the life.



The Beans went back to school yesterday, but school day mornings around here have become quite the dramatic production. Emphasis on DRAMA.  First of all, Sugar Bean, is 13. I could stop right there, without any explanation at all and 99.9% of you would still know what I mean. However, I’ll elaborate. Because that’s one of the things I do best, besides over-sharing and rooting for my Crimson Tide.

With her, there is none of the usual teenager-not-wanting-to-get-out-of-bed riggamaroll, or the “MOM…NOTHING FITS ME!! WHY CAN’T I GET NEW CLOTHES? FUCK!!” (If you haven’t seen it, there is a great example of this in Judd Apatow’s new film THIS IS 40. A must-see if you have kids, especially teens). Life up in here would be grand if it were just that simple. But oh no…I get the emotional stuff almost every morning, and the kid hasn’t even started her period yet! The golden moments of  “I hate cheerleading, and don’t like going to the away games (there is one today). It will take me forever to do my homework afterwards, and there is no adult supervision once we return to school (yes, a teenager complained about this)” and “My entire 7th grade year is being ruined, because I’m miserable cheering and you won’t let me quit. Other girls are quitting. You don’t care about my happiness.”  And during these rants, I have to resist the urge to say “Because I will be 41 tomorrow and know infinitely more than you, so shut the eff up”, remain calm and… parent. Before 8am. Before I’ve had caffeine. Or changed my clothes, brushed my teeth, and peed! Just about the only thing this follows is….The Man’s departure for work.

Now, I should mention that I was a cheerleader myself, both in junior high and high school, but had no part in Sugar Bean’s decision to try out. In fact, it was a shock to me that she wanted to. So, she can’t hang this one on me for forcing her into an activity she desired no part in. Nope, not my fault. I will, however, take full responsibility for refusing to allow her to quit. It’s one of those points of parenting where The Man and I absolutely agree, because we made a mistake early on and learned from it. Yes, that really happens. Anyway, there is a rule in our household now: If you start an activity  as part of a team, you fulfill your commitment, as part of the team. Unless unforeseen circumstances like this prohibit you from doing so. 

In other words, we are not raising quitters.

So I try to explain this to her, and convince her it WILL get better. I declare that cheering for basketball is more fun than soccer, and CFE’s because the games are more exciting to watch and the crowds tend to be larger and more enthusiastic. I also point out that we live in a small, close-knit community (yes, those exist in LA), and if she quits the squad, it may hurt her chances of being chosen for, or allowed to participate in future team activities next year or in high school, because she will have the reputation of being a quitter, and therefore, be viewed as unreliable. In an attempt to validate some of her feelings, I even agree with her about a few of her grievances, which I know to be true, and offer to come to the game today and speak to the cheer coaches in an effort to gain insight into why she is so miserable doing something she wanted to do! I try to relate what she is feeling to my own experiences as a cheerleader. Big mistake…HUGE. She sulks and says, “It was different then.Plus, if you are there, I will mess up. There’s too much pressure.”  But I am steadfast in my decision, and she concludes her rant (keep in mind it’s been going on relentlessly for almost an hour now) as she exits the car saying “I don’t care about school or the year anymore. It doesn’t matter.” Talk about making me feel like shit for parenting, and causing worry about all sorts of things that could result from my refusal to allow her to quit cheering. So I have decided to go to the game. To observe. I won’t approach the coaches, or draw attention to her misery in any way. But I need some answers!

Now, compared to Sugar Bean’s morning tirades, Butter Bean and Sweet Pea’s antics in the mornings before school appear like the actions of angels. But, they still turn the task of getting them ready for their day into complete havoc . At the ripe age of 8, Butter Bean hates to get out of bed. But when she does finally spring forth, there isn’t much I have to help her with beyond fashioning her hair into a ponytail. Extremely independent, that one. Definitely a chip off my block. She is somewhat of a tomboy, so she doesn’t give much thought to what she wears, and settles on jeans and a cute tee with a hoodie most days. Easy, right? WRONG. Her main purpose in the mornings is to antagonize her baby sister, Sweet Pea, who takes sensitivity to a new level, much to the delight of Butter Bean. That child cries from the moment she gets out of bed, and continues for at least 20 minutes. It’s almost impossible to get her dressed, as she is a mini-fashionista and very concerned about how she looks. If she’s picked an outfit that doesn’t fit the weather outside, and I gently point that out, the waterworks start. She takes it personally, and considers my concern for her being cold an insult on her fashion sense. After several minutes of hemming and hawing, we can usually agree on something….as long as it involves wearing tights. And a dress, a skirt, or a tutu. In general, Sweet Pea hates pants, unless they are brightly colored or embellished jeans. Or in rare cases, cargo style. Once dressed, the tears stop long enough for her to make the trek from her bedroom to the bathroom, where I must brush the tangles out of her hair while she screams like a banshee and declares that she knows I’m hurting her on purpose! All the while, Butter Bean is standing in the doorway, backpack loaded onto her shoulders, breakfast of choice in hand….with a devious smirk on her face…watching. You can imagine what goes down when Sweet Pea catches Butter Bean observing. “Mama, she’s looking at me with an ugly face, and it’s making me sad!” Cue more tears. Where is Sugar Bean, you ask? Halfway out the door, sighing loudly, and proclaiming that if we don’t leave right that second, we are going to be late.

Which we never are, of course.

These are my days. One bleeding into another, when school is in session, with only slight deviations from this to the next. Today’s hiccup was that, before crawling into bed last night, I took the time to sit down and write in a card for The Man. I wrote some words of encouragement for the day, along with loving phrases, sealed it in an envelope and carefully propped it in the pocket of his gym bag, where he would be sure to find it. Just because. I know i enjoy ‘little things’, and unexpected gestures, so I thought he might as well. He  startled me awake by asking where his coat was, and then barked at me because I was disoriented and couldn’t answer him. It was, after all, 5 am, and I had only been asleep for 3 hours. So what? I’m a night owl. The nap was decent. The waking, was not. Much to my amazement, there was no mention of the card, and he hurried out the door without even saying goodbye or I love you. I thought to myself, he was obviously in a hurry, and it fell out of his bag. He hasn’t read it. Yes! That’s it.

Then I found the card, ripped from the envelope, lying on the dining room table, just above my heart which fell to the floor beneath.

So that was my morning. How was yours?

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a year-end wrap up…in 47 minutes or less (because that’s all that is left of 2012)


I’ll try to make this short and sweet, by simply making a list of the good and bad moments of 2012 up in my Calibama State of Mind. Mostly because lists are easy to follow, and I wasted time creating the ecard image, and now only have 17  no minutes left. Procrastination at it’s finest. Classic me. Some things never change, and I work better under pressure, so no judging….got it?

Let’s start with THE BAD, shall we?

1. We moved. Not much more needs to be said other than the process of it sucked the life right out of me for a good 3 weeks. Unless I win the lottery, I am not leaving this house. EVER. 

2. The Man was between film projects for much of the year, and home a lot, which drove me bat-shit crazy. He needs hobbies that do not involve chasing me around trying to undress me while I have 8000+ things to do. Hoping that developing a few is on the top of HIS resolution list.

3. The Beans had to quit gymnastics. You can read about that here. I’m still heart-broken and don’t like to talk about it. Hopeful that training resumes in 2013.

4. Lester, our beloved 13 year old, Chihuaua had to be put down 🙁 That story is here.

5.  The Beans got head-lice. Twice. Pissed doesn’t even begin to describe my mood on those occasions. Yes, I blogged about it…here. 

This is the shit I’m running from, once I get my new sneakers. Tomorrow.

But onto…

THE GOOD. Which I will be expanding on, in MAGNANIMOUS PROPORTIONS.

1. ON JANUARY 9, 2012…MY 40TH BIRTHDAY…THE ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE WON THE BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. Best. Present. Ever. ROLL TIDE ROLL….and onto the National Championship game we go once again this year!!! 

2. I started this blog, along with a FB fan page and a Twitter feed dedicated to it. It speaks for itself, I believe. And I plan on paying A LOT more attention to it.

3. I got a real writing gig, that actually pays a little. I need to maintain a bit of anonymity where this is concerned, but trust me….IT’S AWESOME. And literally fell in my lap at a much needed time. As the saying goes, “When life shuts a door, God opens a window somewhere” 🙂 

4. We moved.  Even with the colossal headache the execution of it was, it’s a good thing too. We down-sized, into a cozy place that is more affordable and closer to The Beans’ schools. Less to clean for me, smaller monthly nut….win-win, right?

5. One of my besties had a baby boy, and I am his Godmother. So now I have a son in addition to The Beans 🙂 Oh, what fun we are going to have!!!

6. I made some really great new friends, in the blogging world, and in real-life. Also reconnected with some old friends. You know who you are 🙂

7. My whole family filmed a book trailer for a zombie novel titled “100 Days of Death”. The novel will be out this year, and you can watch the trailer here. We had a BLAST!!

8. I was invited to be a contributor for MomsLA, a phenomenal group of bloggers. I’m still shaking my head at this one. Honored does not even scratch the surface of how this made me feel.

9. My niece, Meaghan, got married, and I got to attend the wedding in Alabama and serve as a bridesmaid. Hadn’t been home to Bama in over 2 years, so this was PRICELESS.

10. I was gifted a ‘We Can Do Hard Things Sign’ by Momastery and Barn Owl Primitives, on the eve of the 17th anniversary of my mama’s passing. The women responsible for this will NEVER know how much it meant.

So, clearly, the good outweighed the bad, at least on this list. There are, of course, several catastrophic things that happened that must remain unwritten. But those have either been kicked to the curb already, or are well on their way to being eradicated.

2013 is going to be divinely kick-ass. HUGE things are on the horizon for me, The Man and The Beans. There simply is no other option.

Who’s with me?

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Remember Two Things


 If you could impress just one lesson, ideal or moral on your kids, what would it be?

That is the question. A loaded one too…..damn. But the answer is easy. Personally, there are two very important ones, and I’m not picking a favorite. They are equal.  I try my dead level best to make sure The Beans always remember that helping others is their greatest mission. Expanding on that, our Family Tribe has adopted the mantra of

“It’s always better to give to others when you don’t have enough for yourself.” 

Why…you ask? Because it reminds us to give with our whole heart, put aside our own wants or needs, and really focus on helping whomever happens to call upon us. So far, so good. There have been a few times when this lesson has rung true and been exemplified for The Beans in our home. You see, on two separate occasions, we had the opportunity to help out dear friends who found themselves without a place to live, and short on funds. One had been unemployed for a stretch, and didn’t even have a car (wtf? no car in LA…impossible). But he did have a need, which was a stable place to stay so he could have visitation with his precious daughter, as he and her mama had decided it best to part ways. At the time, we had a very large home with more than enough room, but we were pretty short on funds ourselves after a series of unfortunate events and suffering the hidden agendas of backstabbers people we no longer associate with (post for another day). In reality, we were behind on our mortgage and in the process of losing the house. More people would mean larger grocery, utility and water bills. We considered all this for as long as it took for him to answer his phone and learn that he had a home….as long as we did. We did the same thing a few months later, for another friend, and suddenly the house was full, and bubbling with energy. As a home should be.

Shortly thereafter, we all had to move.

But the lesson had been taught, and most importantly….we created a FRIENDAMILY. People whom we consider family and will always jump through hoops for. People who don’t share our common blood, but would be there in the blink of an eye if called upon to help. After all, you just never know when you may find yourself with a need, and it’s nice to ‘have people’. What you put out into the universe comes back tenfold, so I try to put out positive light and energy as opposed to venom, because Karma….well, she’s a bitch sometimes. Okay, most of the time, so I prefer to keep on her good side.


The other lesson is to BE RESOURCEFUL.

Just like the photo says,

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”  

The Beans see this one all the time, but never more clearly than when I am at the computer writing. You see, I started this blog back in January, at a time when our family was in dire straits,  and I was terribly depressed. The days were not good for me. I wrote about it here. I needed an outlet for bitching creativity and I have never been great at journaling in the tangible sense. So here I am. A few months into this blog, my ability to use what I had (English degree) from where I was (home) to do what I could (write) landed me a real writing gig, that I thoroughly enjoy. You can read a little about that here. And thus, I proved myself rather resourceful in the eyes of The Beans. Of course I do that in other ways too….like figuring out how to fashion a forgotten art project due the next day at school out of food on hand, paper goods, duct tape and ribbon….because we had to….at midnight when every store was closed. That’s just how we roll…..like MacGyver and shit.

Anyway, I could probably go on forever about things I want The Beans to know. There are so many. Impression by example will just have to do in order to get the points across. Sort of ‘real life training’ and ‘flying by the seat of our pants’ without throwing our manners out the door of course. Because manners will take you a long freaking way in this world. Oh hell…here I go again…

That is all. Really.

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