Thursday, June 30, 2005

My T-Shirt Slogans

You know what this world needs? More smart-ass T-shirts! As I was lamenting yesterday about what a terrible housekeeper I am, I decided to revolt, and I want to bring all those who are also domestically-challenged with me. Women who lack the motivation to scrub their houses from top to bottom each week, let's unite! Join me in a new crusade to entertain others with fashionable yet hilarious T-shirts that will let people know we won't take crap off anyone for our shortcomings. Here are some slogans that I've come up with:

"World's Worst Housekeeper... and proud of it!"

"My House Is So Dirty... My Duster Needs Dusting"

"My House Is So Dirty... The Dust Mites Have Allergies"

"I Took the Queen of Clean's Crown... and Shoved It Up Her Duster!"

"The Fly Lady? I Swatted Her Last Week"
(For those of you who may not know, The Fly Lady is an extremely cheerful woman who has a Web site devoted to helping women stay organized and keep their homes clean. Check it out at

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Some Things About Me (Some You May Not Wanna Know)

1) I wrote my first poem in fifth grade about the city of Simpsonville. In sixth grade, I started keeping a five-subject, spiral notebook for my poems. Let me tell ya, a lot of them are NOT pretty. You'd need some strong wine to go with all that cheese.

2) I have my father's temper and my mother's tendency to cry when she's mad, which basically means that I'll never be intimidating. Ever.

3) I have two black hairs that grow out of the same follicle on my right boob. I know; it's disconcerting. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what I ingested that caused them to grow there.

4) A cosmopolitan is my drink of choice, although if I'm at a Mexican restaurant I always get a Margarita, and no, I don't drink cosmos because of "Sex in the City," even though it's one of my favorite shows. I drink them because they're quite tasty. Anything with amaretto is quite nice as well. I also like Long Island Iced tea, and if I'm lucky enough to be somewhere that has Woodchuck Amber cider on tap, you'd better believe I'm having a pint. Hmm, perhaps I should stop listing drinks now...

5) Along those lines, I'm a silly drunk. I just sit back and stay relatively quiet and giggle. People seem quite amused by it.

6) I don't drink any hot beverages when the temperature is above 55 degrees. Similarly, I can't stand eating chili during the summer, and I don't really care for salads in the winter. Is that weird?

7) My top five male celebrities: 5 - Christian Bale (Thank you, Batman Begins) 4 - Hugh Jackman 3 - John Cusak 2 - Michael Vartan 1 - (but only by the skin of that awesome southern accent) Matthew McConaughey

8) I love throwing parties. I almost always have one at Christmas, and I'll start planning two months in advance - who to invite, what to fix, how to decorate. Yes, I'm that anal, so shut up.

9) I sleep with three pillows (not including my husband :-) ) a standard one for my head, a king-size one to curl up with and another standard between my knees. No perverted comments, please.

10) I have my hair colored every three months because I'm about one-quarter gray, and at 33, I just don't wanna go there yet.

11) I'm a grad-school dropout.

12) The summer between my 5th and 6th grade year in school, my family got a VCR. (If you think that was late, I was in college before we got cable.) Every day that summer, my brother and I watched a tape that had one of the Herbie movies and an edited-for-TV version of Animal House.

13) I met my husband at work, and we still work together. Yeah, I'm crazy.

14) I had two bad experiences with college roommates - the one from freshman year stole from me and the one from the first half of my sophmore year read my journal. Kind of ironic that I have this blog now, huh?

More to come as I think of them...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Comic Book Convention: An Outsider's View

First off, I love my husband, Danny. I have to start off by saying that because I know that members of his family read this blog, and I don't want to come off sounding like I resent the trip I took with him Saturday. This year, after dragging him to multiple chick-type events with my friends, it was my turn to be dragged to one of his events, HeroCon in Charlotte, North Carolina. I can appreciate the comic book as a form of art, but I myself have never been able to "get into" reading them. I've tried, but I'm content with hearing my husband's explanation of storylines and going to see the movies when they come out.

But yesterday was my day to enter his world. He's been talking it up for weeks. "Oh, you know, Carla's going with me to HeroCon tomorrow," is what he said Friday night to our friends as we sat at the bar at TGIFridays. They all looked at me incredulously. I summoned a smile, and they all said, "Yeah, she looks excited." To which my husband reiterates how he's had to suffer through two Ludy Bowl events at Columbia College (long story, will have to explain in another post), a Carolina Cup and a ten-year college reunion.

At 9am Saturday morning, after a quick stop at the drive-through at Hardees for biscuits and a gas tank fill-up, we began on our one-and-a-half-hour-which-eventually-turned-into-two-and-a-half-hour drive. Everything was all sunshine and smiles until we got off I-85. You see, Danny, got directions from Google, a perfectly respectable search engine. These directions told us to take exit 33 and turn right on the Billy Graham Parkway, and after 0.2 miles, turn left on Murray Chapel Road. Then we were supposed to go 0.5 miles and turn left on Wilkinson Boulevard. However, after turning right on Billy Graham Parkway, we traveled more than 2 miles and saw no Murray Chapel Road on the left. When we crossed over I-77, we decided to go back, thinking that perhaps we should have turned left off the exit ramp. When we got back to the bridge at I-85, we saw that we were indeed on Murray Chapel Road, so we start looking for Wilkinson Boulevard. The thing is, Murray Chapel Road was only 0.5 miles long, and it ended at a traffic light where we had to turn left or right on a road that was not Wilkinson.

At this point, Danny has lost his patience, which he doesn't really have a lot of except when it comes to me. Meanwhile, I looked at the directions and saw that we had to get on 277-North. I remembered that ten years ago when I lived in Rock Hill, which is 30 minutes south of Charlotte (another story for another entry), I worked at a day care center in Charlotte. The center sent me to a child care class that happened to be downtown, and I had to take I-77 to 277. I relayed my idea to Danny, who agreed that it was our best shot at the moment, and luckily, it worked (pat on the back for me).

There we were at the Charlotte Convention Center, walking up to the ticket counter, and I spy a young man dressed as one of the Ghostbusters, complete with blinking red lights on his black backpack. I looked at Danny, who says, "Welcome to HeroCon." But this boy would not be the only one in costume. I saw GI Joe, Klingons, Batman, Supergirl (whom Danny thoroughly enjoyed), Phoenix and Storm Troopers. That afternoon, I saw a man wearing a suit and sunglasses and being led by someone else. He was tapping a cane in front of him, and I thought, "Why is a blind person at a comic convention?" Not to be mean or anything, but how would he get any other enjoyment out of them other than reading the story? Why put out a braille comic book? Do they actually make braille comic books? An hour or so later, I saw him perusing through books, still wearing sunglasses but with his dress shirt unbuttoned to reveal a Daredevil uniform underneath. Yeah, and we even own the freakin' Daredevil DVD! (For those of you who are even more illiterate about comics than I am, Matt Murdock, aka Dardevil, is blind)

Other observations of the day included a geeky teenager wearing a T-shirt that read "Models Wanted," (Yeah, that's gonna happen.) a guy who looked much younger than 21 wearing a Grey Goose vodka shirt, a nonexistent line in the women's restroom, grown men carting around luggage racks stacked with short boxes of comic books to be signed by their chosen artist/inker/writer, and the fact that I should be considered for sainthood for giving my husband hallway space to hang his original artwork purchase.

While I did admit to Danny that this probably won't be something I would want to come to every year, I also said that didn't totally hate the experience (not that I really thought I would). Besides, the only real problems stemmed from the drive to and from Charlotte. Halfway home we ran over the rubber from a tire shed by a boat one lane over and three car-lengths ahead of us. We saw the smoke, and Danny slowed down. We saw the rubber spinning off the tire, and it slid toward the emergency lane then back across the road and right in front of us. We were surrounded by vehicles, so there was no avoiding it. Who else has this kind of luck? The scene was as if the tire just look around and said "Oh, here's some lovely green grass. No, wait! There's a silver Buick. I wanna throw myself underneath it!" Danny pulled over and looked under the car, and he did see something dripping. He was afraid it might be water, so we drove the rest of the way home (about 45 miles or so) with the windows down, At 70 mph, however, there's enough air coming in to keep cool. Luckily, all the gages were ok for the rest of the trip, and when we arrived home, Danny looked under the car to find that nothing was dripping. So what he saw on the interstate was from the air-conditioner running.

Things definitely could have been worse. I mean, it could have been the whole freakin' boat that came loose and slid in front of us. So I guess my original post title, "Day Trip from Hell," isn't the most accurate term, but my poor feet are seriously pissed at me this morning!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Writing Prompt: Write About a Letter

Somewhere in this house are two shoe boxes stuffed with almost every letter I got in middle and high school. Some are notes from friends and a couple of boyfriends. Some are church bulletins passed between me and one of my friends during the Sunday sermon. Then there's more than ten years' of letters from my childhood pen pal, Wendy. She was a friend from my days at a private Christian school. I stopped going there in the fourth grade, and at some point during the fifth grade, I mailed her a letter, even though we lived in the same city. Why neither one of us actually picked up the phone and called the other is beyond me. In the ninth grade, I did get the bright idea to write and tell her that we should meet up at the football game between our high schools. (She went to Wade Hampton; I went to Mauldin) A couple of weeks later, I received a letter from her with a return address of Illinois, so we actually did have to write letters. The irony is just amazing. Throughout the years we exchanged school pictures, prom pictures and graduation invitations from high school and college. I even got a wedding invitation from her, but I lost touch with her before I got married. I always found it amazing that we wrote to each other for so many years. As far as I know, she still lives up north.

Some of those school notes are so funny to think about now. I can imagine them stacked in that box - folded in whatever origami-esque style that was popular then, starting off with "Hey! What's up?" and ending with corny phrases like "sorry so sloppy" or "freaky friends forever" so that we could make the first letter three lines tall and write the words on separate lines so that phrase looked like an anagram. Somewhere in those boxes is a note from a girl named Jodi. I met her during my junior year. She had just moved to town, and we had history class together. We became acquaintances during the first month or so of the school year, during which time she wrote the note. Then she started dating a senior football player, and while we still spoke to each other in class, she hung out with his crowd. She was always a sweet person, and she eventually married that football player after they both graduated from college. Unfortunately, a couple of years before our ten-year reunion, she died in a horseback riding accident. I remember my mom telling me about her death, and my first thought was that she had once written a note to me in history class.

It's a shame to think that many kids today probably don't have these old-fashioned, handwritten notes to save as tiny moments of their youth. Many of them are "texting" each other on their mobile phones, IMing each other on their computers or sending e-mails. It all changes and passes too quickly.

Monday, June 20, 2005

How Far $250 Goes at Target

WARNING: Today's entry is very domestic in nature and may not be suited for those needing more action. So if you're bored, tough shit. :)

So I got this gift card from Target for my ten-year anniversary at work (I don't know whether to laugh or slit my wrists.), and it's a rather generous one - $250. My husband and I went out there after work, because he's all about spending money, but I told him that this was MY gift card. He balked and said that I'll try to influence him when he gets his $250. (We work at the same place, and his ten-year anniversary is in October.) I told him that I wouldn't, but he doesn't believe me.

Anyway, we made our way down to Target, sitting on the exit ramp off the interstate for 20 minutes in the going-home traffic, and finally to the mecca that is Tar-jay. And in case you think this was an impersonal gift, I asked for a Target gift card. I had the choice, and I asked for it. I know there are those of you who love Target just as much - and more than likely more - than I do. Target runs circles around Wal-Mart. The store is better organized and less cluttered. I just feel like I can breathe when I'm in Target, as opposed to Wal-Mart, which makes me gasp for breath from the moment I walk by the elderly greeter to the second the security person swipes that highlighter across that receipt (although I'm not sure if they do that anymore).

So back to my shopping spree. I picked up a pair of lamps that I'd been eyeing for months for the living room with a pair of lampshades that look totally awesome with my curtains. I browsed the patio furniture, but I'll be going back with the gift cards that I got for my birthday last month. I ooohed and aaahed over the stereos that would connect to my iPod, but we already have a connector that lets us play our iPods through our stereo system. (That's right, we have two, because shortly after my husband bought his, I realized that I was never going to be able to use it for any length amount of time. So when I got a good commission check from my home business, which I can't promote or name on this site, I bought my own. It's no wonder we're in credit counseling.) I did get a nice case for my iPod though, with a handy dandy clip - perfect for all the exercising I'm not doing right now. Then I moved on to the DVDs and CDs, and here's where I finished everything off. I bought the new Foo Fighters album; Anna Nalick, Wreck of the Day; and Kelly Clarkson's new one (Yeah, yeah, it's pop, but I really like her voice). Then I picked up The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles because I have to nurture my '80s teenage-angst nostalgia. (My husband simply rolled his eyes and moaned in disgust.) But I also got a value pack made up of The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy because those, in my opinion, are two underrated action movies.

Throw in an umbrella and two lamp arms to connect the lampshades to the base, and that added up to $250. I don't think I did too bad for my purchases, as I bask in the reddish glow radiating from the new lampshades, and I'm looking forward to going back and picking out some patio chairs and table for my deck.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I'm an Addict

As I was eating lunch today, the second time this week I've eaten from this place, I realized that I'm addicted to this place. Hi, my name is Carla, and I'm an addict. I know that the first step in getting help is admitting I have a problem, but even though I've admitted it, I'm not sure I want help for these vices:

1) Moe's Southwest Grill - I've been going twice a week for the past month. I'm a sucker for the John Coctostan quesadilla with a side of chipotle ranch. And I throw in some Kaiser salsa and queso dip with their tri-colored chips. Yum

2) Bath and Body Works - This addiction is currently under control because I have an adequate supply of Blue Lavender Palmerosa bubble bath and Cherry Blossom shower gel. However, if I stray inside during a visit to the mall, I can drop $50 in no time thanks to those pesky Buy 3, Get 1 Free specials.

3) Alias - I'm currently going through withdrawals right now because the fourth season is over, but I'm chomping at the bit to find out what Michael Vaughn's real name is. I'm regularly checking spoiler sites and member boards for inside info. It's pretty sad.

4) iTunes - "Oh, but it's so cool because you don't have to buy the whole album - just the songs you want." Sure, great, but then you want 50 MILLION FREAKIN' SONGS!

5) The weather - I check the local National Weather Service site multiple times each day, especially during hurricane season. why? I don't know. Greenville is 200 miles from the coast, but I'm totally fascinated by the weather. I'll even click on the local doppler and then click on the arrows to look at doppler all over the US. I know. Insane.

So these are the major addictions that I have. There are other vices of course, but the ones above are the ones that can really get me into trouble!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Writing Prompt: Before I Was Born

Here's my entry for May 28th: Before I was born.

My grandfather - my dad's father - died three months before I was born. I've seen a few pictures of him, and I remember watching some old 8mm home movies that he was in, but I don't have a clear image of him. I know he was tall - at least 6'2" - and bald, and I've been told stories about his volatile temper.

He and my grandmother spent their working days at the mill, which was a hard life. Love was shown more by providing for the family than by hugs or words, but that was all they knew. My mom also told me that my grandfather was different after my aunt had children, nine years before I was born. She said he was always buying things for my cousins, and he probably would have done the same for me and my brother had things been different.

I've always felt the loss somehow. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's as strong as if I had never known my mother or father, but sometimes I wonder about the lack of his presence. Not long after my other grandfather died - when I was 15 - my mother took me to my dad's father's gravesite. I don't remember if my tears were triggered by something she said or whether the grief from her father's passing was still so fresh in my heart, but I do remember crying for a man I'd never met.

Sometimes I wonder what things would have been like if he had lived longer. Would he have made amends? Would his presence have been a reminder to my father about how detrimental having such a temper could be? Or would he have ended up like one of his brothers - so full of paranoia and anger that his own family would conspire to get his wife out of the house?

But wondering only leads to more questions, and I believe that as long as we have the desire to steer our lives to avoid a self-destructive path, remembering the good times and the positive characteristics is the best way to finding the direction we need to take.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Writing Prompt from March: Write About a Small Rebellion

Here's an entry I wrote from my Writer's Book of Days exercise about a small rebellion:

The entire church youth group trip to Daytona Beach in 1989 was a rebellion. Our youth minister was an introverted, mousy married man who, on this trip, would begin an affair with one of the chaperones who was divorced by spending a couple of hours alone with her riding the ocean waves in an inflatable raft. Our music minister was also along for the trip, but he could hardly discipline a bunch of teenagers. The main threat that kept us following their rules was the threat of being sent home, but we made sure that we pushed the limits of their rules. At night, we waded out farther in the ocean than they said we could. We ventured past the designated boundary for nightly strolls on the beach. We stayed out until the last few seconds before our curfew and then dawdled in the halls for at least another half-hour.

Our trip involved running a Bible school type class for kids by the pool at three different hotels. At night, we performed at one of the hotels, starting out with a puppet show, then lip-synching a couple of oldies songs and finally performing a musical of contemporary Christian songs. I was part of the lip-synching portion. The song "Lollipop" was bad enough, but the second song was a sappy one called "Born Too Late." The idea had not been so bad a few months before when it was part of the entertainment for our '50s-themed fund-raiser. Somehow, doing the same skit in front of complete strangers held none of the original appeal - even though there were less than a dozen strangers in attendance at either of the shows.

Regardless, I was determined to get out of performing "Born Too Late," and the other three girls didn't seem to mind my finding a way out. In hindsight, I could've left the tape at home, but I'm not sure why I didn't try that. I did, however, forget to take it to the first practice session after arriving in Daytona. When prompted to retrieve it, I used the privacy of my hotel room to pull the tape out of its casing and then return to the music minister's room with a handful of stringy mess, blaming the destruction on the unorganized contents of my very large, acid-washed denim pocketbook. The look on the music minister's face showed that he knew exactly what was going on, but I didn't care. I piled the tape in his capable hands and went on my way. Even though he had repaired the tape by the last performance, I had given myself a two-night reprieve, and that was better than none at all.

On our last night, we made our final plea for a later curfew. When we were denied, we made signs in the hotel lobby and returned to march through the music minister's suite chanting our wishes. Basically, we were up past midnight protesting, but we achieved our purpose in a roundabout way.

Even the trip home had its share of battles. We argued with each other for space in that 15-passenger van, and we fought over the music selection, especially when George Michael's "I Want Your Sex" came on the radio. Our youth minister changed the station, but our cries of protest eventually made him change it back. To look back on the trip now, I'm amused by the fact that the whole experience was sort of framed by sexual entertainment. Our first night of the trip we stayed in Jacksonville with families of our music minister's former church. At the house where the girls stayed, we watched Dirty Dancing. Combine these two facts with our youth minister's impending extra-marital affair, and you have one big Southern Baptist irony.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


So I had this vivid dream last night, and if any of you have any opinions as to what it could mean, feel free to share. I think I should preface this with a bit of background about my job. I have been there for ten years, and I've been in and out of the writing department twice now. The loss of this position and the department where I am now are sources of my increase in stress. But in the dream, I was at work and about to leave the writing department, but the office was my dorm room from my senior year. Two of my coworkers from the writing department were there - one of whom was laid off and the other one was also taken out of the writing department with me. Anyhow, in the dream, I remember being excited about the coming year at school, and I was planning on introducing my two coworkers to my roommates and college friends. I was walking around the campus, and I was so relieved knowing that I wouldn't have to go back to work because I was starting school in a couple of days. What made the dream so vivid was that I was so happy. I mean, I was literally skipping around the campus. I can't remember ever being so relieved and joyful in a dream.

I guess I could go the obvious route and say that I should leave my job. Duh! I've known that for several months now, but I just had this feeling that my subconscious was trying to tell me something else. Any guesses, thoughts or opinions?

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Originally uploaded by CGKWriter.
Remember was telling all three of you about Domino? Well, here she is in all her spoiled glory. She's part collie, part German shepherd, part chow and all maniac! She was four years old this past Christmas, (Yes, she was a Christmas puppy.) and she makes us laugh every day. It's incredible to imagine that whenever we have kids, we'll love them even more because we love her a whole bunch! :)

The Water Jug

Two summers ago, my grandmother moved from her mill house on Green Street in Woodruff to an apartment community for senior citizens. As small as her house was, her apartment was even a bit smaller, having only one bedroom and one room that did triple duty as the living room, dining area and kitchen. Needless to say, she had to get rid of some stuff. So on an unusually chilly summer Saturday, the whole family gathered at various times during the day to help sort what Ma Ma wanted to keep, to sell or to throw away. She wanted all of us to have whatever we wanted, stopping one of us every once in a while to ask if we'd picked out something to take home.

I selected a couple of glass serving bowls and plates, a covered skillet and a pair of bud vases, but the major item was the water jug. The water jug is an insulated thermos with a shiny, aluminum exterior and dark metal interior speckled with white. A bright red cap screws on top, a black spout beside it for easy pouring and a metal handle that swivels for carrying. The jug will hold at least a gallon of water, and it was a staple for every family beach trip. Granted, there were many things Ma Ma had to take, including tomatoes from her garden, a jar of Dukes mayonnaise (essential for any sandwich in the south), a couple of boxes of oatmeal cream or raisin cream pies (Little Debbie brand, of course), and one or two of her favorite cooking pans. There were other groceries, and my dad could only watch helplessly as she would bring bag after bag of stuff. He would laugh and shake his head and tell her, "Momma, you bring anything else, and you're gonna have to ride on the hood." Or, "Momma, there are grocery stores in Myrtle Beach." Ma Ma would only laugh and throw her hand at him.

For all the stuff she did bring, when she came out of the house with the water jug, she was ready to go. She would sit in the back seat on the passenger side with the jug between her feet on the floorboard. It was wrapped in a towel and placed in a plastic bag with a few paper cups. The layer of ice cubes clinked against each other and against the side of the container with the twists and turns and bumps in the road. I can almost see her filling up that jug before each trip - cracking the ice out of the trays and dropping cubes one by one in the container filled from the faucet sitting over her white porcelain sink and making sure she refilled the trays she emptied and placed them back in the freezer. Every once in a while, she would ask who wanted a cup of water. My brother and I usually declined; we held out for one of the canned sodas that my aunt and uncle had in the cooler in their car's trunk. But when I did take a cup, I was drinking some of the coldest, most refreshing water I ever tasted. There would still be water left when we arrived at the condo, but it would be gone by the time we left. I don't remember her carrying water on the trips back home; we all thought the tap water at the beach tasted funny anyway.

I haven't used the water jug yet myself. I guess I've been saving it for a road trip that I haven't taken yet, but I remember my family that day remarking on my find, "Oh, you got the water jug." Not really in disappointment that they didn't get it for themselves, but in satisfaction that this icon would be staying in the family. Because no matter how far from home you go, I guess you always need to take a piece of it with you.