A Family Yearbook

Do you keep up with the baby books?

I feel a twinge of guilt whenever I am folding laundry, and I look up at the shelf above utility sink at the two baby books that I started before each of my children were born. The blue one is bursting with first haircuts, ticket stubs, sticky notes of funny sayings, and napkins from first birthday parties. The pink one looks like the binding has never been broken. I started this blog when Mia was a month old, and it has become more of a daily life and inspiration journal of her early years than perhaps a traditional baby book might have been. At least that’s what I tell myself to make myself feel better.

My friend Shelly is not only a talented interior designer and photographer, but she is an inspiring wife and mother. She creates an annual “Family Yearbook” for her party of three that has inspired me to do the same.

FamYr1
FamYr2
They even sign it like an actual yearbook!
FamYr3
FamYr4

My photos and videos tend to get stuck in Digital Purgatory. Call me “old-fashioned”, but sometimes I just feel like cozying up with my memories page by timeless page rather than scrolling through them at stop lights or waiting in line at the bank. Thank you, Shelly, for turning my page-flipping fantasy into a keepsake reality. Be sure to check out Shelly’s blog for tips on how to make your own Family Yearbook.

How do you preserve and enjoy your family memories?

Seoul, Korea: Let’s Try That Again

Clark and I call it a “do-over”. Can I have one please?

Last night at dinner, I told him that I had spent some time thinking about Seoul, and that I even wrote about it. {The following is why I love and loathe marriage}. He said, “I know. I read it.” And I could tell that look on his face and the sound of his tone that what he was really saying was, “You can do better than that.” And he’s right. My hearing test results in Korean would have been a more riveting read, and I knew it when I hit “Publish”. I applied myself to the facts, but I did not tap into the emotion of what really happened six years ago today. The truth is, I love our ongoing conversation here, but sometimes I feel this unspoken pressure to tie a pretty bow on a thought or a subject in 800 words or less, and Heaven-forbid there aren’t any pictures! There are two problems with this:

1. I am a woman and therefore I can’t order at the drive-thru in 800 words or less.

2. I am thirty-two years old, and much like my two-year-old, I still only like to look at the pictures.

So, forgive me for underestimating you.

I spent a few quiet moments this morning thinking about what would have happened if I had sailed through the event in Korea and on to Manila, Hong Kong, and Tokyo as was originally planned. Most people cross the Pacific and end up with indigestion. I end up going deaf. I would be attaching 6-inch ribbon curls on the situation if I said that I didn’t feel utterly cheated out of the opportunity of a lifetime. Who knows if one like that will ever come knocking again. But before my chronic optimism flares up and I start digging the pearl out of a lousy situation a-gain, can I keep it human for 300 words, please?

Let’s start with the fears…

Prior to my Asian excursion, there were three of them to be exact {with a myriad of bloodsucking fears attached to those fears}. Normal people fear things like death, terrorists, or taxes. I was filled with an array of irrational fears before I ever even stepped foot on that airplane. I guess you could say, I was paralyzed before I ever went deaf. For those of you that knew me then, why, I ask you, didn’t you have me committed?

Where was I? Oh yes, the Big Three.

Fear #1. Losing my voice
It couldn’t have been an abscess tooth or an ingrown toenail. But it had to be my hearing, right? The tinnitus that came with the hearing loss sounded like a fax machine going off inside my head at. all. times. {Pause for a listen… Yep. Still faxing.} I am so used to it now, but back then, it was the end of my music-loving world as I knew it. You don’t have to be a music major to know that the ability to hear is sort of a prerequisite for the production of vocal music or any music for that matter. Singing was my passion, my career, and I’m sorry to admit, more of my identity than it should have been. What am I if not a singer? How do I qualify my own existence if I don’t make music? Those were the questions that kept me up at night before Seoul. It turns out that living in the fear of not being able to sing anymore or having an a-musical and therefore “unqualified” existence {or so I thought} was worse than the 5% likelihood of medical recovery I had after Seoul. In other words, I am living proof that there is life after deafness.

There I go snipping it by the yard… moving on.

Fear #2. Medications, additives, and pretty much chemicals of any kind {I told you these fears were irrational.}
It was during the Organic Boom when the use of preservatives, dyes, or artificial ingredients of any kind in foods and household products were considered a fate worse than death. If I couldn’t pronounce the ingredient or if it ended in -ates or –ites, it did not enter our home. One time, I bought some all-natural peppermint body soap. I could hear Clark from the back of the house yelling from the shower, “Babe, I am willing to try all of this natural stuff you buy us, but my whole body feels like an Altoid right now!” That’s when I knew I may be taking the whole chemical-free thing a bit too far.

WARNING! WARNING! We are now exceeding 800 words. Are you still tracking with me?

My chemi-phobia extended to medications, both prescriptions and over-the-counter. I would not so much as take Tylenol for a case of cramps. Therefore, when upon admittance into a Korean hospital I was pumped full of pills {12-14 in a single does} and injected with steroids, you can imagine my panic. Due to the language barrier, I couldn’t even ask the nurse what each drug was called much less the inevitable side effects. And yet, I survived without going blind or experiencing any unwanted hair growth. Again, proof that there is life after acetaminophen.

Fear #3. Clark leaving me
Most couples don’t see a therapist before they are married. We weren’t even engaged when I dragged Clark to my counselor’s office because I thought he needed to have his head examined for wanting to marry me. I tried letting him off the hook a thousand different ways {including Altoid soap}. After every failed attempt, he would look me in the eye and say, “I am not going anywhere”. But surely now that I blew our career and cost us our entire month’s earnings not to mention future income and I am laid up on my side drooling while the Korean ENT is injecting steroid through my eardrum, surely that would be the precise moment when Clark says, “This is not what I signed up for”. I half expected for him to tell me he had to run out for yet some more sushi and then skip town. He had the ultimate head start at that point as I was not even medically cleared for air-travel. But instead, he stroked my hair and read me Psalms and lied to me and said that he thought drool was sexy. He didn’t lose patience with me after 12 days of sleeping in the same twin bed, and he let me choose what to watch on television {even though the only English-speaking TV channel was the Armed Forces Network}. We had been married for more than a year, but for the first time, I actually started to believe him that he wasn’t going anywhere. I think he would agree that those two weeks did more for our marriage than dating, engagement, and our honeymoon combined. Now, eight years later, we like to reminisce as if to say, “We’ll always have Seoul”.

Today, on this six-year-anniversary of the Survival of the Big Three, I am walking hand-in-hand with my baby girl down our neighborhood street. While, my son is dragging Woody by the boot just 20-feet ahead of us, and both of them are whining because they are too hot, thirsty, tired, wah wah wah, I would like to take this opportunity to say that there are two certainties in this world of which I am living proof:

1. You will survive.

2. I’m not going anywhere.

… wait for it… waaiittt for it!

big bowIt was killing me, and I just couldn’t help it. How’s that for tying a bow on it?

{Image via Delphine Chanet. Click the source and then you can say, “Irony”.}

Places I’ve Been: Seoul, Korea

Throughout this month of “memories”, I thought it might be fun to journey through some of the places that I have traveled to and some of the unexpected events that took place there. This week marks a rather significant anniversary in my marriage. The setting is not our wedding day but rather a hospital room half-way around the world.

On the morning of May 8, 2007, I laced up my running shoes, plugged in my headphones, and ventured from my high rise hotel out into the city streets. I was immediately infused with the energy of the early morning rush hour. People scurrying in and out sky scraper buildings, men in tailored suits with leather brief cases on their cell phones, and high heeled fashionistas gracefully slipping in and out of taxi cabs. It was much like a scene in Manhattan, except the air smelled of kimchi rather than warm bagels.

downtown seoul

This was Seoul, Korea, and I was further from home than I had ever been before. I noticed a crowd of uniformed school children unashamedly staring at me as they passed by, whispering to each other, no doubt about the “silly American” who stood a head taller than everyone else. The truth is, I was a silly American– positively beside herself excited to be on the other side of the globe witnessing the wonder that, for everyone else, was just another Tuesday.

Seoul 3

Little did I know that this would not be an ordinary Tuesday. Clark and I were on our first stop of a 10-day Asian tour. On the first night of the event at the Olympic stadium in Seoul, I walked on stage for sound check, wired up my in-ear monitors, and began calling volume adjustments through a translator at the monitor board. Nothing too out of the ordinary. No sooner than rehearsal was over, I walked off the stage and immediately noticed that I felt uncommonly dizzy, and the world around me suddenly didn’t quite sound the same.

Fast forward 12 hours later– I am in a university hospital in Seoul with a diagnosis of Sudden Deafness.

For most of my 20’s, I played host to some pretty irrational {and outright bizarre} fears. Ironically enough, one of them was being hospitalized in a foreign country. The first three days of a two-week hospital stay was nothing short of terrifying. Hold a pillow to your ear and that was the sound filter through which I heard everything. Doctors could not account for the sudden hearing loss with any ultimate certainty, but the general consensus was that a viral infection combined with the cruising altitude of the 15 hour flight from Atlanta to Seoul wreaked havoc in my middle ear. At one point, the medical staff suggested that if I resumed air travel, there was a remote possibility that I could lose what little was left of my hearing. Clark and I were actually researching passenger ships from Seoul, Korea to the United States.

At this point, we had only been married for just over a year, and many of our collective thoughts about settling down or having children had gone conveniently unspoken. We were perfectly content {or so we thought} to remain in a blurry fantasy of travel and exciting musical pursuits and to ride the wave for as long as we could. When our fast pace came to a screeching halt, we we suddenly began to reevaluate whether singing and touring and sushi and Shiatsu was the ultimate goal for our lives.

If we weren’t overhauling our priorities or contemplating an upcoming ocean excursion, we were coming up with clever ways to amuse ourselves.

Hospital 1
Hospital 2
Hospital 3
Hospital 4
Hospital 5

After two weeks of sharing a twin hospital bed and being each other’s only English-speaking entertainment, Clark and I were cleared for take-off. However, we were not the same couple we were when we first arrived in Seoul. The Clark and Salina that arrived were laser focussed in their pursuits. By the time we left, we both agreed that perhaps for the first time, we were thinking clearly about the future.

Seoul 2

What started out as a terrifying experience eventually cured me of several of my fears and anxieties {having survived many of them during those two weeks}. More importantly, it marked a turning point in our infant marriage that {in hindsight} better prepared us for the tospy-turvy journey of children, career change, and a more stationary existence in the years that followed.

I am forever grateful for our adventures in Seoul!

{Downtown Seoul image via Camino’s Photostream}

Seranade

Seven years ago this week, I had my first date with the handsome guitar player that is now my sweetheart. Last night, I went to see him play in town, and I realized half way through the first set that I still can’t help but wear a big goofy grin whenever I hear him shred a lead guitar solo. He won my heart back then and he still does now. And from what I can tell, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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My girlfriend sent me this photo this morning of Salem serenading her 8 month old. Watch out, little lady. Those guitar players are hard to resist!

The Story of Us: The Futon

Last night, Clark and I cozied up on the futon to watch Contagion. Fantastic movie, but for those of you that have seen it, doesn’t it make you want to hit the pause button immediately and go wash your hands? And for crying out loud, stop touching your face! Anyway, to lighten the mood a bit, I said, “Hey Babe, do you ever stop and think that this was futon on which we had our very first official make-out?” Then we laughed about how if we knew then how many poopie diapers we would have changed on that futon, we may have chosen an alternate location. Nevertheless, that is where it all began, but not before I tried to break up with Clark… on the futon.

We had been dating nearly three weeks. A tale-worthy first date, a near train wreck second date and on the third date, a solid gold DTR {for those of you that didn’t subject yourself to the Christian college experience and therefore did not spend the better part of your 20’s recovering from it, DTR stands for “define the relationship”.} The truth is, I had never had a guy treat me the way that Clark did. When he looked at me, he saw me. If we were in a crowd, he acted as though we were the only two people in the room. Whether it was my Starbucks order, my favorite song, or my parent’s first names, he committed everything I said to long-term memory as though there would be a pop-quiz at the end of the night. He made me feel beautiful and witty and worthy, which was an entirely new experience for me. He didn’t even try to play games, and I found his lack of mystery endearing and inviting. I also found it a bit treacherous. After all, there was bound to be a catch, a quirk, a fatal flaw somewhere in him. I half expected to see his mug shot on America’s Most Wanted or to find out that he had a wife and three kids who lived in Montana. It was too perfect, especially for someone who spent $100 a pop on the shrink’s couch waiting for the other shoe to drop. I couldn’t bear the thought, so I figured I would drop it first.

One night on the futon, I proceeded to deliver what I thought was a pretty darn convincing Dear John speech complete with all the old standby’s.

“I need to focus on my career right now.”

“I’m not sure how I feel about you.”

I think I may have even said, “It’s not you. It’s me.”

I took a deep breath before he said anything, fully anticipating him to head for the exit muttering, “See ya ’round”. I mean, if I was ever going to get rid of Clark Beasley, this was my chance. Never in a million years did I expect him to say…

“I’m Not. Going. Anywhere.”

Now, those of you that know Clark know that he is way more considerate of other people than myself. He would rather crawl in a cave and be bludgeoned to death by Cornish Pixies than impose himself on anyone. This doesn’t make him a pansy. It just makes him, well, nicer than I am. But that night on the futon, he meant business. He wasn’t going down without a fight. His “No sale” response to my compelling argument obliterated his charming Nice Guy image which completely threw me off. I thought, “Any minute now, he’s going to pull out a big wooden club and grab me by the pony tail and say, ‘Ounga Uunga’.” The man knew what he wanted and what he wanted was me and he made it quite clear right then and there that he wasn’t going anywhere…not in a psycho-stalker, Martin Burney sort of way, but in a way that made me feel like the most desired woman in the world. And I was hooked, right up until a few nights later when he told me that he loved me over the phone to which I responded…

“DON’T EVER SAY THAT TO ME AGAIN!!!!!”

Who says that?!?! The point is, I did not make it easy on Clark Beasley. He showed up bearing his heart on his sleeve while I kept mine under lock and key. It took a crowbar, a slim jim, and some elbow grease, but he managed to open me up to the idea that this could very well be it. From that day on, Clark Beasley and I spent every waking moment together, and most nights we fell asleep talking on the phone.  He carefully refrained from using the “L-word” until I was ready to say in back. It only took me a month. Once I did say, “I love you” {which was an accident by the way} it sent our budding romance into overdrive.

And that is where our story must conclude for today as my blasted computer battery is about to die.

Have a great weekend… and don’t forget to wash your hands!

 

The Story of Us: Artichokes and Dr. Phil

Our first date was a smashing success {as smashingly successful as awkward first dates go}.  Aside from possessing all of the chivalrous qualities that can make a girl swoon, Clark managed to do everything right. He listened to the little birdie who informed him of my favorite restaurant. He listened intently from across the table, all of his non-verbals indicating he was taking permanent mental note of every word I said as thought they were all dripping with pure brilliance. He didn’t make me feel like a complete moron when I ordered the Fire-Roasted Fresh Artichoke and much to my surprise a whole artichoke arrived at the table. Do you have any idea how to eat a whole artichoke? Neither did I. He asked scintillating questions about everything from my world travels to how I take my tea to how many siblings I have to my beliefs on speaking in tongues.

{insert record scratch…cue voice over}
“Need a moment?”

To this day, I’ve asked Clark what on Earth possessed him to ask me if I believed in speaking in tongues on our very first date. He said that he wasn’t quite sure why he asked me– that he was just making conversation. Come to find out that the same little birdie who told him I like restaurants that serve edibly challenging finger foods also told him that I grew up in the pentecostal church. Looking back, I think he may have subconsciously wanted to know if I was a practicing pentecostal as he would then have to figure out how he was going to bring a tongue-talking, streamer-twirling, shofar-blowing, Charisma magazine subscriber home to meet his Southern Baptist mama. But I told him I hadn’t waved the Lion of Judah banner in years so… we’re square. In spite of the awkward appetizer and and the even awkward-er topic of spiritual conversation, I happily agreed to a second date with Clark Beasley.

Two weeks {and one South American adventure} later, I opened my front door to a bubble-blowing Clark Beasley wearing a T-shirt that read, “Plays Well with Others”. I mean, really girls. What’s not to love? It was Date Number Two and Clark had tickets for us to go see Marc Broussard in concert. He took me out for a steak dinner before the show where I proceeded to break the cardinal rule of all Second Date Cardinal Rules. I told him my ENTIRE LIFE STORY complete with disappointments and tragedies and lots of sentences that began with “…and then one time when I was six” and “my counselor told me…” Here’s a tip, ladies…

DON’T. EVER. DO. THAT!

The thing is, I just felt so comfortable with him, but even as the words were coming out of my mouth, I had this sort of out-of-body experience where my second {and more sober-minded} body was screaming “You idiot! You are so gonna blow this!” Even before I had finished my filet, I was thoroughly convinced that this would be my last date with Clark Beasley. Classic me. Open mouth. Insert a WHOLE ARTICHOKE.

After dinner, we headed downtown to a club for a little “Bayou Soul”. I’m singing along to all of my favorite Marc Broussard tunes when suddenly Clark leans over and asks me if I want to dance. See now, the thing about most Carencro lovers is that they don’t exactly dance at Marc Broussard shows which means we would be the only two people in a room of about 250 slow dancing to “Lonely Night in Georgia”. Still, it was the least I could do after I had just mistaken Clark for my shrink at dinner. He took my hand and pulled me in close and I felt it. That glorious feeling you get when you suddenly realize you are attracted to someone…. like hot wax has somehow replaced every drop of blood in your veins. I love that feeling! It was a magical moment…. right up until two stranded musician friends asked us if they could bum a ride home in the back of Clark’s van. That was the end of the magic…. for now at least. But not all was lost. I was digging Clark Beasley and I had the slow dance to prove it.

The miraculous happened and Clark forgot about my Dr. Phil moment enough to ask me out on a third date where he proceeded to do the unfathomable.

He stated his intentions.

I didn’t even know guys did that anymore. Mind you, I had just endured the last six months with the Commitment-Phobe World Traveller, so to hear a guy with whom I felt the Magical Hot Wax say that he wanted to date me and only me was enough to make me want to attempt a roundoff back handspring triple tuck right into his leather-clad arms! SOLD!! to the musician with the DTR!

It was spectacular. It was kismet. It was more than my feminine heart could have ever hoped for or imagined. Which is precisely why one week later…

I broke up with Clark Beasley.

The Story of Us: Mimes and Maker’s Mark

The first time I ever saw Clark, he was on TV. Unfortunately, he wasn’t posing as a body double for a Phoenix cologne commercial {although you could, Sweetheart… you absolutely could}. He was rocking a Muse tune for about 400 middle schoolers and I was watching him  from a backstage monitor. The stage was on fire. Not literally {although one time we were on a stage that did catch fire. Another story for another day perhaps.} What I mean is that his stage persona was nothing short of magnetic. However, I was only slightly distracted by the Ode to the Troll that had taken up residence on top of his head. When I tell you that his hair stood 5-6 inches on end, I am not exaggerating. Although it was sort of Vanilla Ice meets the Bride of Frankenstein, it just… worked on him, and on me apparently because I instantly began asking around about the guitar player with the Fur-ocious hair. I learned that his name was Clark Beasley. He lived in Nashville. He played for rock bands and country bands. He drove a gutted Dodge minivan {which obviously meant he must be good with children….helloooo?} The reality was that he filled that buggy to the ceiling with enough guitar amps and pedalboards to keep a small pawn shop in business. Most importantly, he was single. Woot. Woot.

I soon learned that he was staying with my girlfriend and her husband in their basement when he was in town on business. Their home had turned into some sort of suburban hostel for starving artists. It was not unusual for them to host four or five musicians at one time, which was especially convenient for a girl who took a particular liking to guitar players with high maintenance hair dos. One day the innkeeper for the Travelling Troubadour Bed and Breakfast called me on the phone and said…

“I have your husband living in my basement”.

“Huh?”

She proceeded to tell me that once we actually met and started dating, she gave it five months tops before we were engaged. She was so sure, in fact, that she began sketching designs for my bridal gown and commissioning her mother to hand-sew my wedding veil. I asked her if she saw any winning numbers in that crystal ball of hers, but all she saw was basque waist and ivory tulle. I hadn’t had a date since the Marine reached over and cut my meat, so needless to say, I was more than willing to check out what had suddenly turned my friend into a modern day prophetess.

Our initial interaction was fairly limited. Clark and I saw each other at shows or out with big groups of friends….most of which had way cooler hair and took way more fashion risks {and got away with them} than myself. It did not take long for me to notice that Clark Beasley wasn’t your average guitar player. I’m not just referring to the hush that would fall over a room full of musicians whenever his name would come up. One time I actually heard one of his bandmates {who was a guy} say, “Gosh, I’d marry him if he asked me.” Clark has always been respected for his talent and I admit, I do love that. But as capable as he was, there was something genuine in his eyes and brilliantly understated about the way he carried himself. He wasn’t like every other guy I knew who advertised every song they wrote or gig they landed. Dude, we don’t care about your latest endorsement with Proactiv. Let’s face it. You wash your shot glass collection more than you wash your face, so who are we kidding, really? All I knew was that I wanted Clark Beasley to take me out on a date. So before I considered having an airplane tow an “Ask Me Out and I Will Say Yes” banner or risk him getting any further marriage proposal from his bandmates, I dropped a subtle hint to my innkeeper friend.

Five months later…

I was still entertaining the Commitment-Phobe World Traveler with late night Vinho do Porto and Damien Rice O singles, but that was fast approaching its expiration date. I had not entirely ruled out the aerial advertisement option to landing a date with Clark Beasley, but after five months, a girl can start to wonder. And then, the Bermuda triangle. In one week’s time, I lost my cubicle job {we can all just give a big round of “Hallelujah” for that life promotion}, booked a trip to South America, and came down with the  worst head cold and subsequent laryngitis in the history of the world. One night, I’m lying in bed sipping on hot tea spiked with way more bourbon than a newly laid off church worker should morally consume. And then the phone rings. It is Clark Beasley. I am screaming a completely inaudible “No! No! Not now!!!” at the glowing Nashville area code wanting desperately to answer the call, but not quite sure which of my conditions would be harder to explain– my new tele-mime routine or my Maker’s Mark moment. A few days later, I was still a candidate for bourbon therapy, but I was just conversational enough to accept this long-awaited date with Clark Beasley. I warned him that my sniffle may slightly interfere with my usual charm, but he said he would take his chances.

On March 22, 2005, Clark Beasley showed up at my apartment, not a strand of Troll doll hair out of place, wearing a collared shirt {which is a huge deal for a musician}, carrying two cans of Campbell’s chicken soup.

And that’s where it all began.

The Story of Us: Marrying Age

What is “marrying age” exactly? Is it simply the age at which you can legally perform your nuptials this side of the border, or is it the heel-of-the-hand-to-the-center-region-of-the-forehead moment when a girl realizes that she doesn’t need any more “friends”, particularly those of the male persuasion? However you define it, I am quite certain I had reached that age judging by the fact that I had sworn off going to any more weddings until I had a warm-bodied date by my side, and I occasionally slipped the latest issue of Bride Magazine into my shopping cart at the Target check-out line when no one was looking.

I met Clark when I was 25. By that time, I had three and a half serious relationships on my dating record. {The half was a commitment-phobe who was holding out for, and I believe may still be holding last I heard, for a Hawaiian Tropics model with a mission to promote world peace, so we don’t actually count him}. The first was a sweet country boy who wore cowboy boots and wide-rimmed hats, and listened to nothing but Tim McGraw and Bone Thugs N Harmony . Nothing screams “You’ve Got Game” quite like Bizzy Bone. I was 15, and he was in college. He had a driver’s license and a real job at a convenience store. He was the kind of guy who was just sweet enough to sit through the Titanic with me four times and take my little sister out for milkshakes to show her how a true gentleman should treat a lady. He gave me my very first kiss in the back of his Chevy pick-up, and I’m quite sure he didn’t tell my little sister about that particular “gentlemanly” gesture. It was the sort of teenage romance that makes for a good country song. Every time I hear “Strawberry Wine” I think of parking just over the fence of the airport runway and watching the planes take off overhead from the bed of his truck. That was before parking just over the fence of the airport runway wasn’t a sure-fire way to get yourself shot on sight. Ah… the pre-threat level orange days.

And then, I went to college. Not only did I gain the traditional Freshman 15 {which I promptly lost thanks to Robert Atkins before they discovered that his diet would turn your kidneys to hockey pucks}, but I also gained a new and more “sophisticated” lease on life. In this melting pot of cultures and interests {of which I took particular interest in boys with surfboards and acoustic guitars}, the world was at my fingertips. Once I traded my American Eagle cardigans for Rainbow sandals and threadbare T’s, it was the beginning of the end for Bizzy Bone. By my sophomore year, he had waited his last day for me to turn in my new DMB collection for a full refund and ride off with him into the sunset. But it was too late. We drifted apart… him toward the altar with one of my hometown friends and me, well… I just drifted…

…into my first band.

He was a guitar player with shaggy curls and I was a background singer with wicked stage fright. Our love debut was a Battle of the Bands contest where the lead singer thought it would be a sure win if we all wore head bandanas and matching T-shirts that said “Make Seven Up Yours” for the big show. That should have been my first clue, but I was just smitten enough to think that was a splendid idea. He was a philosophy major who read Kierkegaard and quoted Nietzsche. He spoke Hebrew and together we were going to join the peace corp in Nepal where we would live on bhat and tarkari in the back of his Sahara Jeep Wrangler. It was a brilliant plan, that is, until he philosophized his way in and out and in and out….. and then in…. and then out again of our Bohemian fantasy leaving me a wilted flower child with nothing but a few coasters he spun for me in Intro to Pottery and a Rusted Root album to numb the pain. Although we can all agree that beatnik isn’t my best look, you never forget your first heartbreak.

It was years later when I met The Marine. He was an ex-marine, but nevertheless, he completely looked the part. Without so much as a wrinkle in his perfectly pleated khakis, The Marine had a high-paying job, a company car, a mortgage, and an 11-year head start on life. As for me, I had just landed my first cubicle job and had barely dipped my toe in the Real World. Everything I owned fit in the back of my Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It seemed like only yesterday I was skipping my Senior baccalaureate to go see Ja Rule in concert, and suddenly I found myself on a steady diet of chiaroscuro where the conversation seldom strayed from the topics of home equity loans, Caribbean cruises, and 401k packages. I was bored out of my mind, but that was until we had been dating all of 3 weeks and The Marine announced that the only logical conclusion was for us to start considering engagement. I began to suspect that this wasn’t “The One” when during one of our usual Brazilian feasts, The Marine reached over the table and began to cut my meat. He cut. my. meat. I headed for the exit shortly after he showed me his collection of blazing white bath towels with all of the Polo horse ponies facing up and to the left next to his clothes closet where every hanger was spaced exactly two-finger widths apart. I had seen Sleeping with the Enemy one too many times to know that my future with Semper Fi would have me running for my life in a Carol Channing wig on a bus with a one-way ticket to nowhere. I spooked and blamed it on Daddy issues, and thankfully, that was the end of The Marine.

Needless to say, by the time I was of “marrying age”, I began to wonder if I was even capable of recognizing “The One” if and when he ever did cross my path. He eventually did, but I was among the last to realize it when it happened.

To be continued…

The Story of Us: My Former Life

Well, date night was a smash hit. Nothing screams “romance” like sipping on a Cherry Coke Zero while watching Tom Cruise blow up the Krenlin. Some girls dig flowers and chocolate. I’m generally satisfied with saccharine and explosives.

I picked up the February 2012 issue of Glamour magazine over my morning coffee today. I can assure you, I skipped over the dish about Katy Perry’s marriage woes and What Your Doctor Won’t Say to Your Face to read an article by actress and comedian, Ali Wentworth. Here, Wentworth provides hilarious details about her premarital dating habits which led to her finding the love of her life, White House advisor, George Stephanopoulos. Even before the caffeine had worked its charm, I was growing more sentimental by the minute as I began to reminisce over how I met my sweetheart. Once I reached the bottom of my coffee mug, it occurred to me that I have never shared this story with you, my lovely readers. Now, I can’t guarantee that our love story would ever merit sharing the same binding with the reasons why Kim Kardashian eats her ice cream cones at noon and not late at night. However, I can promise you that your fingers won’t smell of potent perfume sample inserts by the time you are finished reading, nor will you be tempted to clutter your mind with thoughts of the Dad ‘stache {circa 1972} threatening to come back in style. {I have already wasted .2% of my waking hours today picturing Clark with a Burt Reynold’s ‘stache, and my only regret is that I will never get those 26 seconds of my life back. EVER!}

I believe I will enjoy re-opening this particular window into my former life. It was only seven years ago that I met Clark Beasley, but you’d be hard-pressed to find me nowadays dancing on a stage with Family Force Five in a pair of kitty-trampling high heels. {It happened only once, and I can assure you there was no alcohol involved}. But, I’m a mom now, and well, moms don’t exactly “Shake it like an earthquake” in public. But I was young {-er} and I ran with bands and I danced on stage speakers {fully clothed} with musicians that spent more time and money on hair products than our current monthly diaper budget. Ah…. those were the days.

And that is where our story begins….

 

Beat the “Blah’s”

Image

Image via Modern Hepburn

Tonight is date night and I’m sitting here in an oversized hooded sweatshirt with braided wet hair, and coffee breath covered in {you guessed it} receipts and bank statements… hardly a fantasy image that would get me asked out twice, I’d say. I went snooping for some “just add charm” inspiration that might dazzle me up a bit before my big night. Well, take it from me… if you’re battling the “blah’s” today, look no further than Modern Hepburn. These snapshots of everyday people and atmospheres are truly stunning, and I’m convinced Modern Hepburn could make me look wistful and romantic even in my day-old-T and mismatched socks. Now perhaps that might be reaching just a tad bit, but it’s enough to get me out of my shredded seven jeans and into a pair of red heels.

Wish me luck!

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