Halfway to 50!

Twenty somethings unite!

How to Get a Terrible Picture Taken for Free August 17, 2012


Church pictures.  Something I thought I’d never be a part of at 27 years old.  I vaguely remember being a part of them as a child.  I know I’ve seen pictures of myself at 5 years of age, permed bangs hair sprayed up 4 inches, and my parents in matching white shirts in front of a gray backdrop.

Yet, as a member of a great church today, I found myself in the same mortifying moment 22 years later.  They advertised “100% participation” in the bulletin for our church photos week after week.  So I signed the hubbie and I up for our photo shoot and what we got was an awkward moment (and photo) to remember…

We walked in at our scheduled time wearing shirts in semi-matching hues (hey, I checked pinterest for tips on how to dress for photos!)  As we waited for our turn, I noticed the hubs had on a pair of blue plaid shorts that completely clashed with my navy striped shirt.  We were off to a wonderful start.  A nice older lady walked up and told us she was ready.  The gray background made me cringe, but I rolled with it.  She directed me to sit on one of two stools.  She stood back, assessed the situation, and said to the hubs, “I’m going to have you sit on the other stool behind her.  Straddle her.”  I fought back a laugh.

My husband did as he was told, we looked at the camera and waited for the click.  I begged the lady to crop out the plaid shorts and smiled.  We smiled for what seemed like 5 minutes… you know when you smile for so long that it begins to look like your third grade school picture?  I knew it wouldn’t be pretty when the shutter finally clicked, but at least it was over.  I stood up and turned to leave.

“So, we’re done?”

“Um, no.  Unless you really want to be.”

How could I walk away from this nice old lady?  She was just doing her job.  OK fine.  She had us stand and face each other.  “Let’s show off this pretty ring!” she said and propped by left hand up on my husband’s chest.  Can you see this in your mind?  It was one of those cheesy engagement picture shots that just make my roll my eyes in the back of my head.  I mean seriously.  Who does that?

I blurted out, “I can’t do this one!!”

Startled, she said, “Why not?”

“It’s too cheesy.  Sorry, I just can’t.”

Instead she had me wrap my arm around his waist so we were now just in a standing hug position.  Not much better than the cheesy engagement photo pose.  This was God’s punishment for being difficult.

Pose number three had my husband sitting on a stool with me behind him.  I was told to wrap my arms around his neck and lean forward.  Really?  Now I was just going to roll with it and get the pictures done.  Finally, the photo shoot was over and we sat at a desk with our photographer.  She brought up all of our pictures on a computer screen and I screwed my face into a horrified expression.  Ew.  The florescent lighting, navy blue shirt, and gray background did nothing for me.  I looked like a meth addict who had been locked in a closet for 3 years.  Not exactly the church photo I had in mind.  I looked about the hubs who could care less what he looks like and even he was cringing.  She clicked through all of our pictures and we decided on one.

She assured us our free 8×10 would be arriving in the mail within a few weeks.  Oh yes.  That is for sure going on the mantle.  When we thought the awkward church photo experience was over, the photographer offered to… um… spruce up our photo.

“Would you like me to add some words to your 8×10?”

???

“For example, I could add something like, ‘Love’ or ‘Together Forever’ on the bottom of your photo.”

“Uh, no thanks.  I think we’re OK…. yep… plain is fine.”

We slinked out of church that night with 2 shreds of dignity left.  We got in the car in silence.  I was clutching a piece of paper containing our black and white photos in thumbnail size.  We looked at each other and burst out laughing.  The whole things was just weird.  These photos would haunt us for years to come – and lucky us!  They’ll be published in our church directory for thousands to see.

I texted a photo of our pics to my mom.  Her response?

“LOL those look like the photos you see on the news when the wife disappears.”

Thanks mom.

The point?  If you can’t laugh at an experience like this, you’re taking life too seriously.  Chill out, laugh at odd situations, and get your church pictures taken.

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Love Me Some 1995! January 19, 2012


istockphoto.com

I have been home sick for the past 2 days.  I have only taken 1 sick day prior to this in 4 years.  That just goes to show you how crummy I feel.  After 24 hours in the house, sitting on the couch, drinking water like it’s going out of style… I found the DVD’s my family gave me for Christmas this year.  They surprised me by putting all of our home movies onto DVD’s so my brother and I could watch them any time we want to.  Not wanting to put my husband through the torture of my awkward years (ages 10-14) I put them in a cabinet under the TV and didn’t think of them for a few weeks… until now!

In hopes of curbing my boredom, I popped disc one into my computer and snuggled in for a trip down memory lane.  Starting in 1995, I watched Christmas’, Easter’s, backyard birthday parties, summer morning T-Ball, soccer games, and lazy days around the house.  I heard my mom cheering me on as I scored a goal at 10 years old, watched my dad wave a flag when the ball went out of bounds, laughed along with my 5th grade friends as we danced around at my birthday party, and saw how truly joyful every moment of my life that was caught on camera truly was.  It was captivating.  I couldn’t stop watching my little brother play in the dirt during his T-ball game at 5 years old.  Man, the 90’s rocked. 

Despite everything, do you know what really caught my attention?  How present and engaged everyone was at each event.  In the 90’s, nobody talked on a cell phone during a choir concert at school, nobody sat in the corner and texted as their child opened birthday gifts, nobody texted during a friend’s party, and nobody missed their child scoring a goal because they were checking Facebook on their phone.  Everyone was present.  Involved.  Together.

I almost long for those years again.  The simplicity of it all.  My parents threw a Halloween party for my friends and I in 5th grade.  Do you know where it was held?  No, not at the Hilton.  I had no celebrity performer and no trapeze performance.  It was in our garage!  Black and orange streamers covered the ceiling, plastic tablecloths with witches covered borrowed picnic tables.  My mom had several party games planned involving toothpicks, lifesavers, toilet paper rolls, and plastic spoons.  My little brother roamed around with us wanting to be a part of the fun and you know what?  We let him!  He danced to the sweet sounds of “The Macerena” with us and even got wrapped up by my friend for the mummy contest!  There was no rivalry, harsh language, slutty costumes, or fighting.  It was just pure joy.

When mom brought my brother and I to the first day of school (he was in 1st grade and I was in 6th) she caught the 90’s in their full glory.  Girls ran around in long jean shorts (OK, maybe a little too long for my taste, but no buttcheeks were hanging out at our elementary school!)  Our hair was done in a simple pony tail with a scrunchy.  We were kids.  Just kids.  Making faces at the camera, smiling from ear to ear, putting our arms around each other with excitement over being the oldest at school this year!  Our only complaint caught on camera? “One recess this year mom, just ONE!”  Nobody complained about a dead cell phone battery, nobody bragged that their cell phone was faster or better than yours, and the girls weren’t concerned about their weight.  We just wanted to have fun!

The 90’s were awesome, I just didn’t realize it until today.  Following hours, literally hours of home video footage from 1995 on (thanks mom and dad!) I can finally see just how good we had it.  I was blissfully unaware of everything around me that made the 90’s so nifty.  My family, my friends, The Macerena, TGIF, and simplicity.  Now, I can only hope to give my own children half of the childhood that my parents gave me in the 90’s.  Hopefully my future children will look back someday and say, “Wow, the 2020’s were the best!”

What year would you like to go back to?  Why do you want to go back?

 

What Does Your Magazine Say About You? January 10, 2012


A great visual for our personalities as a couple!

Once a month my husband comes in beaming from his trip to the mailbox.  He strolls towards me holding a thin package in clear plastic wrap.  He shakes it in front of me and says, “It came!”  MY GLAMOUR MAGAZINE!

I’ve been subscribing to Glamour Magazine since high school.  Finding out the trends for next month, how-to hairstyle guides, and photos of celebrities spotted canoodling in Hollywood coffee shops gets me all hot and bothered!  Within an hour I usually have the issue devoured cover to cover.  (In case anyone is wondering, I love the “Hey It’s OK” section!  My fav!)  I set it aside and anxiously await next month’s issue. 

Typically, my hubbie gets his monthly magazine on the same day.  After he drops my Glamour in my lap, he turns his attention to his… brace yourself… Kiplinger’s.  Nope, not speaking another language, it is indeed called, Kiplinger’s.  I’m not exactly sure but I believe it’s some sort of money management, 401K, investment banking… blah, blah, blah.  What on earth is exciting about that?  I get the articles about upcoming spring fashion trends.  I pour over recipes that “make your man melt.”  I take the quizzes to find out what kind of sex life I’ll have in 2012 based on my sign, height, and shoe preference.  But what I don’t get is how reviewing the criteria for deducting a home office on your taxes IS ENTERTAINMENT?!?

Just yesterday I had a dentist appointment.  After I placed my purse and coat on a chair in the waiting room I eyed the magazine rack.  Yessss!  Fresh magazines of all shapes and sizes!  (The only reason I go with my hubbie when he gets his haircut is to paroose the newest magazines.)  As I stood in front of the magazine rack I could see a dad and his son watching me make my selection.  Damn. 

The following interpretations of each magazine flashed through my head in a matter of 25 seconds:

Seventeen Magazine:  I’m 26 reading a magazine targeted to a teenage girl.  Prom dresses, curfews, and ACT prep are no longer issues in my life.  Boo.

Newsweek:  Makes me look smart… like I know about the world.  Except, I don’t care. 

Redbook: I must be a mom who needs 10 easy crock pot recipes so when I’m between dropping my kids off at soccer and book club, I can feed them healthy meals.  Nope.

Sports Illustrated: I’m a butch with a hot chick waiting for me at home.  I probably want to stay current on the latest college softball scores.

So, what did I go with?  Travel and Leisure Magazine:  I’m well-rounded, cultured, and enjoy a good time!  I grabbed it, sat down, and then got called in for my teeth cleaning. 

It’s amazing what magazines say about a person.  For my husband and I, they illustrate who we are.  At the dentist office they give a glimpse of the many different  people who go in and out of the office every day.  Magazines are a great source of entertainment and information.  They may change with us as we get older, but sometimes, they also help us hang on to who we will always be.

 

Wanted: Childless Couple Friends May 22, 2011


I feel like a liar.  I feel deceitful.  I had a birthday last week that makes my blog title no longer true.  However, I don’ t think calling my blog, “Halfway to 50… and then some,” sounds as catchy.  On Tuesday I entered Club 26 (ooo now that has a ring to it!)  I rang it in with my hubbie, a bottle of wine, a vodka shot, and a few unexpected surprises…. let me explain.

The weekend before my birthday the hubbie and I went to dinner downtown.  You know, one of those places with dim lights, long narrow menus, and tiny tables.  The waiter came over and poured my husband a small glass of wine.  I raised an eyebrow at the smidge of wine standing in his glass and anxiously waited for him to fill up my glass when I noticed something great happen.  My husband picked up his wine glass, swirled it around, smelled it, and took a sip.  He nodded to the waiter who proceeded to pour him a full glass and then fill up mine as well.  Oooo classy!  I smirked at my husband who so gracefully handled a situation that made me giggle.  Turns out his fancy job puts him in situations like this all the time so he knew exactly how to handle it.  That’s my oh so grown up man!  We wrapped up dinner and walked, well my husband walked and I stumbled, back to the car.  We hit 2 Redbox machines up on the way home (both were out of order) so we gave up. 

Tuesday night we went out to dinner again with another couple because, well, I’m not about to cook on my birthday.  We ordered a round of shots, which my girlfriend declined.  The waitress came back with a regular glass, not a shot glass, full of vodka for each of us.  “Sorry,” she said with a shrug, “we don’t have shot glasses.”  Gulp by gulp I took about the equivalent of 3 shots and continued with my dinner.  Hey, like 50 Cent says, party like it’s your birthday!  That’s when my girlfriend dropped the news on me.  “We’re expecting,” she said.  Surprisingly my eyes began to well up with tears.  I’m not a super emotional girl so this was big.  I pushed my husband out of the booth, forced her husband out as well, and hugged her.  On the way home I tried to picture her with a baby.  “Well, another one bites the dust,” I said to hubbie.  “One more couple we can’t call to meet at the bar on a Saturday night.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for them!  I love kids (I am a teacher after all; it’s not for the money) and I hope to have my own someday, but it’s getting tough to maintain couple friends without kids.  We’re holding tight to the ones we’ve got.  When the topic of babies comes up with them, I often try to make it sound like we’re discussing purchasing a snake. 

Childless couple friend:  When are you two thinking about having kids?

Me: Psh… (gulping a drink) Not for a while.

Childless couple friend: Really?

Me: Yes (taking another drink) I still have so many things I want to do.

Childless couple friend: Like what?

Me: Oh you know, travel, finish school… drink in a bar without paying $50 for a sitter.

Childless couple friend: Yeah… me too.

Haha!  Someday I’m going to laugh at my obnoxious self-centered thinking.  But until then, I’m going to sleep in, write papers until the wee hours of the night, change my plans at the last minute, and plan elaborate vacations.  Please don’t judge me.  Recognize that I just celebrated another birthday, receive news about friends being pregnant almost daily (thanks Facebook), and simply put, am just not ready.  Here’s to all the childless couples out there who are sitting around reading blogs on a Sunday night because there’s nothing else to do!

 

How do you know it’s love? February 14, 2011


As someone who married her high school sweetheart, I’d like to think I know a little something about being in love.  I’m not an expert on love, but I believe I’ve learned a few signs that show its true love between you and that special someone.  Even though I’ve been in love for 11 years, the kind of love we share has evolved over time.  You can and should fall in love again and again with that special someone.  This happens because the love you share changes as you grow together.  In my case, it changed when we learned how to drive, when we graduated, when we entered college, when we got engaged, when we got married, and then as we’ve shared our life together over the past couple of years.  The following, in my experience, are the top 10 ways you know it’s love…

10. You share the last piece of… anything! 

 If there is one piece of bread left in the basket at a restaurant, neither of us will just grab it and scarf it.  Instead, one of us takes it, breaks it in half, and the other person gets to choose which half they want.  Silly?  Maybe.  But I feel it’s so important to still share with each other, no matter how long you’ve been together.

9. You feel comfortable announcing that you are going to the bathroom and say exactly what you’ll be doing in there.

I know, I know.  This may seem nasty to some people, but once you get to know someone really well and then live with them, this becomes second nature.  Often times it isn’t necessary, but it just comes out like word vomit.  I couldn’t fathom announcing that he should “stay clear of the bathroom for a few minutes” when we were dating.  Now, I feel like its common courtesy to give him a heads up to avoid an unwelcome surprise.  That’s love.

8. He’ll accompany you, no matter where you’re going.

Whether it’s your parents’ house or a spin at the Gap.  Someone who really loves you will go with you.  Although my husband frantically searches for a chair the moment we step into the Gap, it is important to note that he is there!  He hates shopping, but will go with me because he loves me.  He’ll drag his feet through Express and The Loft and happily answer me when I burst out of the dressing room saying, “How does this look?”  Ok, so he doesn’t happily answer.  He’s usually rubbing his forehead and bouncing his knee nervously.  BUT, he’s there.  For me!

7. He learns to love chick flicks!

Although resistant at first, my husband has come to not only tolerate, but enjoy movies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Serendipity, and The Holiday.  I don’t think the story line is what draws him in, I think it’s knowing that it makes me happy to watch these movies together.  It probably doesn’t hurt to watch Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston in all their glory, but again, I like to think it’s because he loves me!

6. He doesn’t judge you based on your music, clothing, TV, or food choices.

I can be scarfing down peanut butter M&M’s by the handful in my two inches too short pajama pants, while watching Teen Mom and my adoring husband doesn’t even flinch.  This probably isn’t the picture he had in his mind of me when we began dating, but once you live with someone, that kind of goes out the window.  Being in love means you can be yourself in front of your husband.  But keep in mind, this means I must also be accepting of the nearly see-through sweatpants he’s had since college and obsession with Captain Crunch cereal.  Which I am.  Usually.

5. He calls you back when you’re upset.

We’ve all been there.  You get in an argument with your significant other.  Your voice gets shaky and you don’t want to get upset in front of him.  So you insist everything is fine, hang up the phone and cry.  If he loves you, he’ll call you back and make sure you’re happy before you go to sleep.  This happened while we dated in high school, college, and now as we’re married.  My husband travels for work sometimes so we still use the phone often to communicate.  He will absolutely not let me go to bed upset.  The same goes when we’re home together.  We do not go to bed upset.  That is true love.

4. He still manages to smile and laugh as you belt out terrible karaoke.

After a few drinks, I like to sing karaoke (see previous post.)  I’ve been known to sing Vanilla Ice, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Britney Spears after consuming a few adult beverages.  Only a man in love will watch and crack up at a tipsy girl’s rendition of Baby Got Back and then hug her after she’s done. 

3. He’ll write you love notes and you’ll write back.

I went to high school about 8 years ago.  There was no texting (hard to believe!!)  If my husband (my boyfriend at the time) wanted to say “hey” or “I love you” he did it through a note.  We were young, but so in love.  He wasn’t too proud to write his feelings in a note and that’s what made me love him.  Want to know the crazy thing?  I still have every single note he ever wrote me 🙂

2. No time to shave your legs?  No problem!

I’ve only been married a couple of years, but it’s wonderful to not worry about having perfectly smooth legs at all times.  I used to feel that way.  Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t let myself go or fallen apart completely, but sometimes it’s just a pain in the ass to shave your legs!  Having a husband who loves me regardless, makes me less self-conscious about my leg stubble.  Gotta love marriage!

1.  He’ll hold your hand in the car, church, Target, or in bed.

My guy’s a hand holder.  At first it was in the halls of our high school.  Then it was throughout campus on the way to class.  Now it’s while we sit in church or watch TV in bed at night.  I wasn’t much of a hand holder until he came along, but it turns out to be a great way to show someone you’re in love.  Ever since we were 16 he’s held my hand in the car.  There’s something so simple and so sweet about hand holding.  I hope it never ends.  I can already see us in our motorized wheel chairs cruising the halls of our retirement home hand in hand.  Sigh. 

Happy Valentines Day to all of the couples who are in love and to those seeking love.  It’s an amazing feeling that I hope everyone gets to experience at some point in their life!