Posted in Culture, Personal, Relationships

The Last Pictures Project “Miss Liz-Style” Part II

Today’s installment of the ‘The Last Pictures Project’ will focus on misery. Like I said yesterday, with the good, you’ve got to take the bad and it would be unjust to humanity to only paint us in a positive light. I find it fitting that this subject is posted on Halloween Day.

21. Death

It was difficult to find a picture that would evoke human death to the aliens. I liked this one.

22. Famine

I wonder if aliens have problems with resources on their planet? Are there some that have excess while others have not enough? Is famine a universal problem? Will they understand this picture?

23. The Atomic Bomb

I really don’t know what to say here. I’m sort of regretting this topic. I have viewed hundreds of terrible acts of humanity today and I feel a good cry is in order.

24. September 11th

I wasn’t sure if I should title this September 11th, 9/11, Terrorist Attacks, or The Twin Towers. Hell, I’m not even sure the aliens will understand what this means, but this day, these people & structures deserve their place forever.

25. The Elephant Man

Just so the aliens know we weren’t all perfect (difficult to understand, I know, especially after viewing a photo of my children) but they there were deformities and abnormalities in humans. Do you think there is an alien equivalent to Joseph Merrick?

26. Growing Old

While I certainly wouldn’t label aging as “misery” I felt this was the proper series to include something as human as growing old.

27. Fire

Whether caused by nature or humans, fire is certainly a force to be reckoned with. We use it for heat and cooking, but it is not always easily tamed, and as you can see in this example, it will wreak havoc at its leisure.

28. Storms

Hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, monsoons, even torrential downpour comes from the skies. The aliens are probably familiar with different storm systems, depending on the atmospheres they have been to, so I thought they should know us Earthlings dealt with trouble from the skies as well.

29. Earthquakes

A photo of the Earth separating after an Earthquake. Kinda important stuff when you’re leaving a legacy of this planet is all about…

30. Alien Autopsy

Thought I’d throw this one in there just throw those guys off a little. Hehehehe…

31. Saying Goodbye

It’s so hard to say goodbye… a true human emotion and one that aliens can most likely relate to.

32. Harry Houdini

This one came by suggestion from my friend Robert who pointed out that Houdini and his wife believed that spirits contacted the living and seances on October 31st are still held today to contact him. He died on Halloween day.

You really should read about the interesting life and death of Harry Houdini.

33. The Holocaust

I asked several family members and friends their thoughts on what pics to send into space and I had 2 people reply with “Hitler.” I think maybe their brains remember something about Hitler being the first radio signal to broadcast far enough for aliens to maybe pick up on when he did the opening ceremony for the 1936 Olympic games. That’s the only reason I can see to give this monster a way to live on, but I thought it would be better suited to give the men, women, and children an opportunity to be remembered long after the human civilization is dead.

34. The Salem Witch Trials

Another ode to Halloween, I threw this one in because I wanted to reflect how ridiculous and asinine humans can be to one another.

35. Rape

Sorry, folks. Whether we want it to be or not, rape is part of human culture and has been since the beginning. This image depicts the rape of Lucretia.

Lucretia is a legendary figure in the history of the Roman Republic. According to the story, told mainly by the Roman historian Livy and the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus (who lived in Rome at the time of the Roman Emperor Caesar Agustus), her rape by the king’s son and consequent suicide were the immediate cause of the revolution that overthrew the monarchy and established the Roman Republic.

36. Slavery

Another part of history we would like to forget, but in truth, still takes place today: Human Slavery. I chose this particular one because it depicts women and they are in chains being guarded over a whip-yielding man. This particular photo was taken in Zanzibar.

37. War

Who will win in the great fight of Man vs Man. If the aliens have this, man lost. Since the start of humankind man has found a way to fight one another. Is this how the aliens live? Did one superpower alien colony defeat another in order to get into space?

38. Murder

This particular photograph took place in Iran. I don’t think there needs to be much explanation.

39. Disease

We wish it weren’t so, but man has suffered from disease since he was born. From bubonic plague, to cancer to AIDS, we are susceptible to contracting the preventable, the treatable, and the nothing-you-can-do-about-it diseases that have wiped out so many.

40. Cannibalism

Well documented around the world and throughout history, cannibalism is still “alive” in modern times.

Yesterdays series was so much easier than doing the research for todays installment. I poured over literally thousands of pictures to get the right ones for this set and now my head hurts, my stomach aches, and my heart breaks. Looking forward to the research for tomorrow. In the mean time, everyone have a fun, safe, and spooky Halloween! As for me, Ghouls Night Out with my girl, Sandy Pants.

-Miss Liz

Posted in Culture, Family, Home, Personal

The Last Pictures Project “Miss Liz-Style” Part I

“Of all the images that have ever been made, would you be able to select just 100 to represent our species and human achievement? Trevor Paglen’s Last Pictures is a project to do not only that, but also launch those images into geosynchronous orbit around Earth – all so that long after humans are gone, any space-wanderer will be able to fathom what humanity was all about.”

When I first read about this project, I thought the idea was brilliant, something right up my alley. When I read the comments in the original article, I realized that there were those in this world that look at things through a scientific eye, and those that look at this world through an artful eye.

“Any group of people would come up with 100 totally different images, but that is part of the fun. It’s an impossible project. Part of it was to engage peoples’ imaginations,” says artist Trevor Paglen.

It’s true. There were people that wanted to include art and people that wanted to showcase the technological advances made by humans. Picking only 100 photos to represent thousands of years of evolution and progress seems difficult to most, but fun to me! I wanted to get in on the action (you should, too!) The daunting task of narrowing down millions of possibilities into only 100 photos, the research, the memories, the pride as a human being, the misery, all of the emotions attached to a single picture is what made me want to do this. It’s an entertaining project, thought-provoking, and something everybody can do. One night a week, each member of your family can present 10 photos they think would be perfect for the time capsule and then vote on which ones to include in your personal list. Just a thought. I’ve decided to break mine up into 5 series, each with 20 photos, a la VH1 style! This week I will be presenting my “Dear to Me” series.

1. Dear to Me
2. Misery
3. Science & Technology
4. History
5. Potpourri

Hey, that rhymes!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my selections. Would you include that one? Do you think this one is too obvious? Why would I include something so abstract? You get the idea…
Here is my list, in no particular order:

1. My Kids

I know I said, “in no particular” order, but did you really think I wouldn’t put my kids first? No, and you wouldn’t either. Of course my kids get a picture, don’t judge! Besides, I think they make an excellent representation of human children. Also, I just really, really love this photo.

What mother doesn’t think their children deserve to be remembered and commemorated for billions of years?

2. Map of the World

I know the world is an ever changing place and by the time aliens get the capsule, Earth will most likely be obliterated, but I thought it would be nice to include a map of the physical world at the time the artifact is put into orbit.

3. Texas – Because I said so.

Maybe a map of Texas with the shape and images portraying Texan things wouldn’t suit everybody’s needs for 1 of 100 pictures used to represent the entire human race, but hey, this is MY list, “Miss Liz-Style.” Don’t like it? Make your own. Remember the Alamo!

4. Jesus Christ on the Cross

I chose this particular image due to its artistic and religious value. I wanted a picture of the crucifixion of Christ to represent our belief in God or a higher power. While certainly the entire human race isn’t Christian, this is a current example of many peoples beliefs, combined with a wonderfully colorful and artistic interpretation. The idea that He dies on the cross for our sins has been a part of human culture for more than 2000 years and should most definitely be represented.

5. Space Program

By now, if they have found the capsule, the aliens have realized that Earthlings have figured out how to put shit into space. I thought we should include an example of a spacecraft we not only created, but also launched.

I think if you’re from Texas, especially from the Houston-area, you have a special place in your heart for NASA and the Space Program in general.

6. Metropolis Skyline

This picture moves me beyond words. I adore the Houston skyline, especially at night. I want the aliens to see skyscrapers, highways, transportation in action, electricity and technology all working together in harmony to create this human utopia.

What can I say? I’m a city girl at heart!

7. Music

How can you portray a sound through a still life photograph? I knew I wanted music on my list, it’s been a part of being a human since the beginning of humans. Do I submit a picture of instruments? sheet music? a staff, treble clef, and b flat image? my favorite band on stage performing for the masses?

I chose this picture after searching through thousands because I felt like it was the most moving expression of music I could find. It’s beautiful and meaningful and evokes emotions the same way music can. I’m certain that aliens have figured out how to make and play musical instruments so I don’t think there would be much confusion for them when finding this picture.

8. Dog – Mans Best Friend

The Ancient Egyptians worshiped cats, modern man has found the dog to be his best friend. (Although Hipsters and memes may disagree with me.) This is my dog, Pony Boy and he is the cats meow.

9. Floating the River

It wouldn’t be prudent to not include a pastime enjoyed by many, my family included. The aliens may perceive this as a form of transportation and that’s fine. It’s just a really fun, relaxing, beer-drinking, music-listening, sun-bathin’ slow form of transportation.

10. Art

I think the human expression through art is something valuable to give the aliens. This is a collage of famous portraits and I think they are all lovely.

11. Tattoo

Throughout history, man has found various ways to modify the human body, whether it’s piercing, binding, stretching, gauging, or my favorite… tattoos! I got this one in honor of my grandson, Lyric and my family’s profound love of music.

12. The Human Body

I thought it imperative to include a photograph of both the male and female body sans clothing. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find naked women and men that isn’t pornographic in nature? Luckily, I found this little gem and I think it is striking and perfect. A wonderful blend of anatomy and art.

13.  Food Glorious Food

Ah, food. Sustenance. We couldn’t live without, yet we have perfected the art of creating, cooking, and serving it. I love food. All food. (Except curry & coconut.) This should have been #2.

14. Love

How can you show “love” in a picture? I’m back to the music query. I enjoyed the research on this topic most because I saw so many examples of photographs captioned “love” and they were all very touching. The love for your spouse, significant other, child, parent, friend, etc is so hard to relay without words, but I liked this one best.

FWIW- I wasn’t trying to exclude same-sex couples. I think the aliens should know we weren’t solely a heterosexual race, I just went with this one because I thought it was so sweet.

15. Family

I wanted to include family because if there is one thing that binds us humans together, no matter race, nationality, political views, or tastes, we are all family and come from family. It was my sisters idea to include a picture that had several generations in it because most animal species don’t stay together the way a human family does. (I thought that was brilliant!) I wonder if alien families stay together?

16. Hand Holding

Parents hold their children’s hands to guide them, lovers hold hands to be connected, we hold the hands of our elders for support. It’s universal. I love this picture. This one is for you, Mom.

17. Sunrise

A sunrise over water is so gorgeous to watch as it’s happening. Also, I think it is probably relatable to aliens and they might like a glimpse into what the sunrise looks like from Earth.

18. The Stars at Night Are Big & Bright…

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that aliens are familiar with the stars. I mean, they will find the capsule in outer-space, so yeah, that’s a given. But do they know what our moon and the stars look like from our Earthly point of view? They will!

19. A Baby

Is there anything in this world more precious than a human baby? That’s for the aliens to decide. It was my sister that suggested this so I included this picture of her daughter, Abigayle after her first bath! Also, I think the towel with the head wrap will confuse the aliens and I kinda like that.

20. The Fabulous Bowling For Soup!

You didn’t seriously think I wouldn’t give the coolest guys on Earth a chance to live in infamy for billions of years, did you? This is my “Dear to Me” series, and if you know me, you know how dear to me BFS is. ‘Nuff said.

That’s all she wrote for today’s list. Wonderful, pretty, beautiful, lovely things to share with the universe. But with the good, comes the bad so my next installment will be titled “Misery.” You’ll see death, famine, and 18 more. Hope to post it tomorrow. Start thinking about your list!

-Miss Liz

Posted in Culture, Personal, Television

The Evolution of Words in Politics

With the 2012 Presidential race at almost a dead heat and all the news organizations and social networking sites focusing on anything and everything race related, a comment deemed “offensive” will most certainly set the opinionists on either side of the aisle on fire. After the final debate on Monday, with the exception of the horses and bayonets comment, one of the most reported observations regarding the otherwise boring debate was in reference to Ann Coulter and her tweet,

“I highly approve of Romney’s decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.”

Almost immediately, I was seeing it being re-tweeted all over my feed. Some in agreement, some in disgust. In a lengthy CNN article by Emanuella Grinberg posted on their website today, many people who are related to or work with special needs people reacted unfavorably to the tweet. There are currently over 4600 comments and counting, mostly negative in response to Ann.
(Note: Grinberg states in her column, “Still, the comment was favorited 1,215 times and earned 2,993 re-tweets as of this writing, presumably by a number of people who didn’t find it offensive.” I think instead of being so presumptuous, she should have eliminated this from her post altogether or at least looked at the re-tweets, the majority of which were not from people who didn’t find it offensive, but mostly from people that quoted Coulter, and responded to it harshly.)

The truth of the matter is this: definitions of words evolve with the changing times. I think the episode of ‘South Park’ tackling the word “gay” and how it’s used in a different context in today’s society was brilliant and exactly the point I’m trying to make today. The words “retard” and “retarded” were once the preferred clinical and medical words used to describe people with intellectual disabilities.

It was 49 years ago yesterday that Bob Dylan recorded, “The Times, They are A-Changin” and those words couldn’t be truer today. The times are most certainly changing and with those changes comes different definitions of words. I’m not jumping to Coulter’s defense here, but I am saying that her, like most people (typically the younger crowd) use the word “retard” to describe someone they feel is stupid or acting stupid. But that’s no surprise here. You all already knew that, just like the people that got so hot about it in the first place. People are going to be offended by certain things, that’s just a simple fact, but to assume that it was meant to mean anything other than “stupid” is just, well… stupid.

Let’s jump to today’s other hotly debated use of words. When Sarah Palin took to Facebook to call out Obama regarding the way the administration handled the attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 in a note titled, “Obama’s Shuck and Jive Ends With Benghazi Lies” people everywhere were pointing at her furiously calling her a ‘racist’ among other graphic and colorful things, including (ironically) ‘retarded!’ (At the time of this posting, her note has 5,600+ “likes”)
To be fair, had Palin used the term “shuck and jive” in say, the 1850’s in reference to African-Americans, namely slaves , yes, that would most certainly be considered racist, but the context used today simply means to avoid criticism by not using the whole truth and being manipulative. Someone of any race can be guilty of “shucking and jiving.” Once again, the definition of the word or phrase has changed with the times. I thought progressives wanted people to move forward?

How can we forget the Eva Longoria re-tweet heard ’round the world? Repubs were up in arms over a tweet originally posted by @imnotyuri saying,

“I have no idea why any woman/minority can vote for Romney. You have to be stupid to vote for such a racist/misogynistic twat.”

An article posted by the notoriously left-leaning Huffington Post in the ‘Latino Politics’ section written by Roque Planas has the full story including updates. (A very well-written column, imho.) Personally, I think it’s funny the title of the story eludes that the stir was caused by referring to Romney as racist and misogynistic instead of what people were really reacting to and that is the word “twat.” While I am no Eva Longoria fan, I think the ridicule she faced for re-tweeting a silly message from an irrelevant person using words she may not even know the definition of  is just as wrong as the backlash Palin and Coulter are facing. While the term “twat” was almost always exclusively used as a slang word for “vagina” in recent times it has come to reference an inept person.

So, this is what it has come to. I suppose it comes down to intent vs perception. People in this politically correct world being offended over words that once meant one thing and now mean something else. So much for sticks and stones…

Also, my vagina is seriously offended.

Posted in Family, Home, Personal, Relationships

STATUS: “The Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”

Once upon a time, I was a daily journalista. I tried to record my dreams along with the important (and sometimes uneventful) goings on in a day of the life of me. Somewhere along the lines I gradually got away from it until I had stopped journaling altogether. I promised myself I’d start back up again, but never really made the effort to devote the time. That is until a few weeks ago when a dear friend shared that he had begun keeping a diary. That was just the inspiration I needed to get off my ass and make some “me” time.

Now that I’m keeping a record of my dreams I’ve come to understand that my subconscious has some interesting ideas floating around that range from off-the-wall to downright bat shit crazy. My dreams are usually recollections of the events and thoughts I experienced that day jumbled into one long series of often indiscernible mini dreams that jump from one idea to another like flipping channels with the remote control.

(Fast forward a moment). I typically only write truth. Reality. Nonfiction. My articles usually consist of a concert or album review, a diary of some cool exchange I’ve had with my kids, the occasional political opinion blog, or an arts & crafts how-to page. Sure, I have been known to spin the occasional tall tale from time-to-time, but I typically work hard to keep my warped imagination to myself… my reality is already exciting enough.

(Flashback to journal) I am reminded of the saying, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” I’ve been re-reading my daily log entries (the same way you read a book, get partway into it, and everything becomes a movie in your mind with all the characters clearly defined) and realized I have some pretty amazing stories from my adventures. Then it came to me all at once. A blog (turned short-story) that is fiction derived from my (journaled) dreams, only with characters based on my real life cast and crew, some actual events (seriously, you just can’t make this shit up) mixed in with that warped imagination I referred to earlier. The story played out in mind so clearly that I decided to take it to pen and paper… er, um, I mean keyboard and Microsoft Word.
So here you have it….

Cliffnotes: If you were too lazy to read the prelude (while silently wishing you could comment, “TL;DR,” here it is in a nutshell: The story is classified as fiction, but really there are a lot of real people and real events that have been mixed in with my imagination, my day dreams & my night dreams, and a little input from my alters.
(Those bitches always have something to say.)
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
“The Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. #AliveAndKicking”

That’s the status update I just posted to the popular networking site, “iSocialize.”  I could think of no other fitting words to announce to the world that I was not, in fact, dead. (Also, it was imperative to include the token, yet fitting song reference from my youth in the hash tag.) The status was also meant to announce the blog I was about to post. There was no way I could answer everyone individually and explain to them how everything had ACTUALLY gone down, so I rushed together a blog for everyone to read in the hopes that they would understand.

STATUS: The Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. #AliveAndKicking
My Comment: Hey everybody, I just want y’all to know that I’m doing well, released from the hospital, and I am most definitely NOT dead. Please read the note I’m about to post …

BLOG: “The Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated”
(Link to blog also ‘chirped’)

By now you’ve figured out that either I’m alive and well, or someone has hacked my iSocialize and is playing a very cruel joke on you.  Let me explain…

Aubrey and I decided to hit up the ATX (that’s Austin for you non-Texans) in search of live music, a few beers and laughs, and maybe stumble on a neat band to review. We hit up a couple of our favorite joints before deciding to check out this new venue that had opened half a block down the street. There was a line of twenty standing in front of a black gothic-style iron fence waiting to get in. As we chatted with the people in front of us, they explained how stoked they were to “check out this bad ass indie group from Phoenix for only $13! Dude, it’s their only Texas show!” We shrugged our shoulders and decided $13 was a small price to pay. Hopefully I’d be able to write the new-comers a smashing show review. That’s when it happened.

To me, it sounded like those Pillsbury Grands Biscuit rolls as they pop open when you knock them against the counter… THAT sound times a thousand. I heard four pops and screaming.  “What the hell?” I asked Aubrey. She looked at me and flatly said only one word, “Drive-by.” (…or maybe that’s two words, I’m not really sure.)  By the time my brain caught up with my eyes, I understood what had happened. I’ll never forget the inflection in her voice, the fear, one hand grasping her face in obvious horror, the other hand outstretched, pointing at me, and the high-toned pitch as she screeched out,  “Oh my God! You’ve been shot!” Looking down, I could see the blood dripping from each of my fingertips in five perfect streams of deep red goo that flowed down to my feet, settling on my piggies through my grey peep-toed pumps … and that’s when I felt it. Sweet baby Jesus, this was the most excruciating, debilitating pain I had ever suffered.  I was certain I would die. I mean, I was aware that I had only been shot in the arm… not exactly a life-threatening wound, but I was pretty sure I had once seen a guy bite the dust solely from the misery of pain on an episode of ‘1001 Ways to Die.’ The lights and sirens of police cars, ambulances, and the fire trucks blinded my eyes and deafened my ears. Some dude from UT started tying his hoodie around my arm before I even noticed he was there. I decided it was best to not worry my family about this right now. With determination in my voice and conviction on my face, I turned to Aubrey and firmly said, “Do NOT call anyone. Anyone.”  She was skeptical. I could see it in her eyes that she was trying to decide if she would do as I asked or if she would sneakily call the hubs. Of course, she sneakily called the hubs.  As the paramedics loaded me into the back of the ambulance, she asked “What hospital?” The EMT climbed in with me and told her, “Triple H,” as he closed the doors behind him.

We arrived at the Hippie Hollow Hospital (AKA “Triple H”) in about 30 seconds flat (how did the driver do that so fast?) and I was immediately rushed to my room. The Doc was in and out in a flash (or maybe I was just having trouble with my perception of time.) The bullet had entered the front of my right arm, exited the back of my arm, grazed clear across my middle of my back and left a 9” long scab (soon to be scar.) How delightful. My back was covered in gauze, my arm had some weird cast thing over it for protection, (we’ll name it Roy) and I had fallen head-over-heels madly in love with the pain medication. Have you ever had dilaudid? That stuff is straight up boss when it comes to pain management. I never have and I never will try heroin, but I’m guessing a dilaudid-drip has a similar effect as The Big H. Now I understand why people get hooked on that shit. I was patched up and feeling no pain, but the Doc still wanted me to stay for ‘over-night observation.’ “Pffftttt, I scoff at such a thing! My children are home alone and my husband would kill me if he found out I didn’t go home tonight!” I announced in defiance with a semi-British accent. (Apparently this is how I talk while under heavy medication.) I turned to Aubrey and pleaded (or is it, “pled?” I can never remember) with her to take me home. Begrudgingly, she agreed, so we left Hippie Hollow Hospital “Against Medical Advice.”

In case you weren’t paying attention kids, remember that she had gone against my wishes (as any good friend would in this situation) and phoned my husband Adam down in Corpus Christi? Following that phone call, he packed up his suitcase, checked out of his hotel, and drove straight to New Braunfels to get our kids. After they were picked up, loaded up, and buckled up they jumped on I-35 towards Austin.  (By now, Aubrey and I are nearly to San Marcos as she has decided to let her alter ego, “Speed Racer” come out and play.) Right about the same time I had arrived at Triple H, a woman (let’s call her Jane) with similar height, weight, and age as me is being rushed through the ER suffering from the gunshot wounds she received in a different drive-by. (Can you see where this is going?) After a gallant effort from the surgical ER team, she was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later. By now, the nurses’ station had already gone through a shift change. My family came rushing through the ER doors. In his best as-calm-as-you-can-be-when-the-mother-of-your-children-is-hospitalized-with-gunshot-wounds-and-you-don’t-know-her-condition voice, Adam said, “I’m looking for my wife! She’s 5’4, 130 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes. She was shot in a drive-by! Can you please help me!?!”  (Why it never occurred to him to actually use my name is beyond me. I mean, it’s not like those identification bracelets they strap to your wrist are merely hospital souvenirs. You are not at Six Flags, these things have a purpose.) Naturally, the newly-on-duty nurse thought he was asking about Jane. It wasn’t her fault. She reacted the way everybody does when they know they have to answer a question with terrible news… she hung her head low and averted her eyes to the floor. She had barely squeaked out the words, “I’m so sorry, sir, but…” and that was all it took. My husband and children thought I was dead.

Meanwhile, Aubrey and I had just made it back home to New Braunfels. She stopped at the Sac N Pac and bought me a Coke ICEE before getting me home. (Now that’s the definition of friendship!) It wasn’t until after I got settled in bed that we realized nobody was home. At this point, we were exhausted, her kids were waiting for her at home, and I was about to fall asleep in a morphine-induced coma. She stocked up my nightstand with all the necessary essentials… Kleenex, remote control, telephone, magazines, an extra large bag of Skittles, my ICEE, and most importantly… my meds. We hugged good-bye before she left and I laid there in bed, alone in my thoughts. My mind wandered to Jane and her family. This was a woman similar in appearance and age to me, was also in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was also shot during a random drive-by. Our story was the same; our ending couldn’t have been more different. Why was I the one to live and her the one to die? Was it fated, pre-determined? Was it simply her time to go? Maybe I was just lucky, but then again, maybe not. I don’t know if it was the trauma from the GSW, the OUTSTANDING medication I was on, or the fact that this was the first time in ages  I was home alone, completely undisturbed. Whatever it was, my mind was set. I decided at that moment, there in the quiet darkness of my room that God still had a purpose for me. My time wasn’t up yet; there was a greater plan in store for me. I was left on this Earth for a reason and from that point on, changes were to be made. I wouldn’t let Jane’s death be in vain. I was going to accomplish my goals, work harder, play harder, love harder, and pray harder. (Hey God, that’s your cue to guide me down the right path… or you know, carry me on your shoulders like the ‘Footprints in the Sand’ poem… either way; whatever works best for you.)

Back at the Triple H, my family had already begun mourning. They were pacing and sobbing around the parking lot as Adam called his parents first. (Apparently, they took the news rather well.) My FIL drew the short straw and was burdened with the task of calling my mother. My MIL volunteered to call every single other member of their entire extended family. By now the kids had made phone calls to their boyfriends and besties.

That was how it started. The news of my demise had spread like Texas Wildfires. Friends and co-workers were already posting stories on my iSocialize wall about the crazy adventures we had gone on together. Inside my personal chirperverse of bars, concert venues, bands, and music blogs, there were few who didn’t dedicate a song or S/O to me with the hash tag #RIPmissmusic. (iChirp is iSocializes little brother with a character limit used for quick updates. Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure iWork (the professional networking site) never even noticed that I had died.

Adam was too distraught to go back inside Hippie Hollow. He was trying his best to hold it together while consoling the kids, and by now, the in-laws were already en route to my house. FIL promised he would handle the arrangements and MIL promised to cook up a storm!  In what may seem tasteless to others, my family decided to pick up a 44 oz Coke ICEE (they don’t come in 40’s) so they could, “Pour a 44 on the curb for mah mommies.” (Later, when they told me this story, I was moved to tears.) Back at home, I had devoured about half the bag of Skittles, completed the crossword puzzle in People magazine, made the life-affirming decision to forever be a changed woman, and was about 15 minutes from full body shutdown. I would sleep like the dead. (Punny!) I never heard the front door open, but as expected, everyone arrived at the same time. While I was dreaming about how wonderful it is to be alive, my family was in the living room and kitchen grieving over my death. At some point, Adam decided he needed some alone time and excused himself to our bedroom. Even though I was medicated, even though I was exhausted, and even though I had fallen into the deepest sleep I had ever known, when my bedroom door began to open, I heard that tiny squeak coming from the hinges that need to be WD40’ed. Then, only barely audible, in a whispered gasp I heard him say, “Baby?” It didn’t even sound like him. I sat up on my elbow, squinted my eyes from the light and said, “Hey baby! I guess you heard what happened, huh?”

Then, the weirdest thing happened. He leapt from the door to the side of my bed in a single bound, fell to his knees, grabbed my hands and started kissing them, all the while not saying a word. I smiled at him and told him I’d missed him. He smiled back and said he’d missed me, too. Then he said he knew a few other people who were missing me that I should come say, “Hello” to. I put on hubby’s robe to cover “Roy” and stepped into the living room. “Mom’s home!” Adam announced. Through my groggy eyes I looked at my children and opened my arms. (Well, I opened them the best I could with the whole Roy arm cast debacle.)

There was confusion & questions, kisses & hugs, explanations & expectations. When Sophie, my littlest one shouted, “Mommy, we thought you were dead!” I felt nauseous. Those six words instantly brought me back 22 years. I was only 14 at the time, but I remember it as if it happened this morning. My older brother was the one who told me.  You know that sickening feeling that races through your body with adrenaline and sits in the pit of your stomach when something terrible has happened? Like when you REALLY, REALLY fucked up? Maybe you wrecked your parents car, got caught cheating on your spouse, or your landlord came knocking at the door to collect the three months of rent you were late on. The feeling is instantaneous and it’s like dread on steroids. THAT was the feeling rushing through my body 22 years ago when my brother told me my father had passed, and that was the feeling I knew my kids must’ve experienced when they were told I had passed. I felt terrible. It’s not fair when a child loses a parent. (God should have a rule that he only takes people after their children have become grown-ups.)

Do you remember the scene in ‘Shawshank Redemption’ when Andy Dufresne crawled through 500 yards of shit and came out clean on the other side? (If you have yet to experience the awesomeness that is ‘Shawshank,’ immediately stop what you are doing, get yourself a copy, watch the movie, and then thank me later. I mean of course, AFTER you finish reading this.) That was the feeling I was experiencing. Standing in the pouring rain, arms outstretched towards the heavens, having just crawled through Hell emerging a brand new person. There was no redemption for me, for I had not fallen, but my death had brought me new life!

The flowers are now more vibrant, the smell is that much sweeter,  the warmth of touch from a loved one is that more tinglier, and the sound of my family when they tell me they love is music to my ears. I hope the next time I die, I will be gone without the regrets I had the last time I died. I’m lucky to have been given this second chance and I promise not to fuck it up.

Posted in Family, Home, Personal, Relationships

100 Things In Life I Want My Niece To Know

My Dearest Abigayle Elizabeth,

I’ll never forget the moment your Mom called to break the news that she was pregnant with you. We were both so overjoyed, we were laughing and crying at the same time! Her and I had always shared so many moments in life, and I was ecstatic that she would now know the joy of being a Mother. When she learned you would be a girl and settled on your name, I was both humbled and honored that you would be named after me. Then, you came into this world practically overnight and I swear, time stood still. It was as if the entire universe paused in a collective awe of this angel sent to us directly from Heaven. Suddenly, we were complete. I am once again honored to have been asked by your Mom to compile this list for you. These are things Grandmom taught your Mom and I, things I taught my children, things my children taught me, things I learned from your Mom, and things I learned in life that I want to share with you. You are an amazing and special human being, a gift from God. He broke the mold when He made you. I love you with all my heart and soul.

1. Your Mom used to come home from school and teach me everything she learned. She taught me how to read when I was 4 years old.

2. One of the most important things Grandmom taught us, “Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!” Oil of Olay is your best friend.

3. Always open at least one gift on Christmas Eve & make sure you leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa, no matter how old you are.

4. It is important to stay physically fit, but it is equally important to stay mentally fit. Do crosswords, word searches, sudoku puzzles, etc. to keep your mind primed.

5. Make your bed every morning.

6. “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” ~Elizabeth Taylor

7. When getting dressed in the morning, match your underwear with your outfit. Nobody else will know, but you will and that’s all that really matters, right?

8. When I was 6 years old, a kindergartner, I got stung by a bee and your Mom physically carried me to the nurses office at school, even though I was only a tad smaller than her. (She was 8.)

9. You started taking dance classes right around your 3rd birthday. Whether you continue with classes or not, always, I repeat ALWAYS continue to dance, even if it is just around your kitchen when nobody is watching.

10. A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear.

11. Don’t find yourself trapped in gender roles. You can do anything a man can do and you can probably do it better. If you want to grow up to be a mechanic, engineer, or trash”man,” than do it!

12. “You Light Up My Life”

13. If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always “no.” If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.

14. Your Grandad “Dub” used to sneak me packs of M&M’s after I went to bed.

15. Your Mom and I may be the last two people on earth that still use the word “dude” incessantly. Your Dad will point that out to us regularly.

16. Even though there are 1100 miles between us, you are right here in my heart every single day.

17. Learn Grandmom’s recipe for “Louisiana Yummy” and “Fudge Pecan Pie.”

18. Your cousins Dallas and Mikayla have this thing where every time they see something adorable for a little girl, they think of you and squeal, “Abbiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!”

19. “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss.”

20. Leave surprise “love letters” around the house for your Mom to find from time to time. (Under her pillow, behind the cleaning supplies, in her recipe box, or on the seat of her car are good places.) My kids do this for me and let me tell you, finding an “I love you” note will absolutely make her day!

21. When you get a new CD from your favorite band, don’t listen to the first track. Save it. When they haven’t released anything new for a long time, you will always have a “new to you” song to listen to.

22. Make sure you make a Valentine for EVERYONE in your class. You may never know how much it means to someone else.

23. Be confident, not conceited. Be classy, not cocky.

24. Keep a journal on your nightstand and record all the dreams you can remember.

25. Learn all the words to “Texas When I Die” by Tanya Tucker.

26. Make sure to wave your “Terrible Towel” on game day, except when the Steelers play the Cowboys!

27. Be sure to watch every film John Hughes ever made. That man was a genius.

28. “I urge you to please notice when you are happy and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'” ~Kurt Vonnegut

29. Can you touch love? Can you see it? Can you hold it in your hands to gaze upon? No, you can only feel it, give it, receive it, and know that it is there. When someone questions my faith in God, this is the argument I give them. You should do the same.

30. The difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks. You can always wear a hat in between.

31. Whenever you feel trapped, ask yourself this question, “If there’s no way out, how did I get in?”

32. The dot above the letter “i” is called a tittle. This always makes me giggle.

33. Always over-deliver and under-promise.

34. Take a role in a school play as soon as you can. The younger you are at facing “stage fright,” the easier it will be to overcome.

35. Watch “Steel Magnolias” with Grandmom and a box of Kleenex.

36. There is no shame in being a “nerd” or “geek,” but don’t get stuck on labels. You can be a cheerleader and a mathlete at the same time!

37. Sometimes you have to be your own hero.

38. Have your Mom teach you “Bo-Bo Ski Watten Totten.” She’ll know what that means.

39. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s true. Uncle Brett taught me this and it has served me well.

40. Make sure you find yourself on both sides of the camera.

41. Don’t feel bad if people only remember you when they need you. Feel privileged that you are like a candle that comes to their mind when there is darkness.

42. Ask your Dad to show you pictures of all your “Family Days.” Your parents work hard to have these and have done a great job of recording them. From zoos, waterparks, pony rides, and carousals, there are already so many with more to come!

43. Open your mouth only if what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence.

44. “People will stare. Make it worth their while.” ~Harry Winston

45. Don’t save your gratitude for Thanksgiving Day. Be thankful every day.

46. Have your Mom teach you how to french braid. She is so good at it!

47. It’s nice to watch “A Christmas Story” marathon on TBS every year, but also watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” because it truly is a wonderful life.

48. Read the book before you watch the movie. The book is always better.

49. My advice for girls with natural curls: Don’t fight it! All the perms, rollers, and curling irons in the world can’t make straight hair as beautiful as yours. God gave you this gift for a reason.

50. Don’t buy a coffee table you can’t rest your feet upon.

51. Read every book Jane Austen has ever written.

52. Return your library books on time.

53. Know who Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are.

54. Believe in soul mates.

55. I cannot stress to you enough the importance of music. It relieves stress, makes you happy, and changes for your life. Listen to it every day and see live music as often as you can. MAKE music.

56. Make a wish in a wishing well every time you cross ones path.

57. I made a list like this for your cousin Lyric, but every single one of these “100 things” are different, special, unique, and original because that’s what both of you are. Take the time to read his list here.

58. A good cry is great therapy.

59. Breakfast for dinner is always a good idea.

60. The amazing thing about becoming a mom is the new appreciation you gain for your own mother. My children did that for me, you did that for your Mom, and one day your children will do that and you will look at her in a completely new light. You will understand the sacrifices she has made for you. When that day comes, it will hit you like a bolt of lightning. Once we became mothers, your Mom and I gained a new respect for Grandmom.

61. Visit the “Four Corners” and know which 4 states they are.

62. Bury a time capsule and dig it up on your 18th birthday.

63. Don’t be afraid to go to the theater and see a movie by yourself.

64. Being “apolitical” is a cop-out for people that don’t want to take the time to get involved. Study and learn politics and be firm in your beliefs. I urge you to discuss this with your Mom and I. You CAN make a difference and you should make your voice be heard. Vote.

65. Once upon a time, the “M” in MTV stood for music. True story.

66. For the most part, cover versions of songs are worse than the original. The exception is Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Hurt.” You should listen to this song often.

67. Be a Patriot. Be proud to be an American. Be thankful for the freedoms you were guaranteed in our Constitution and for the lives lost to preserve those freedoms for you.

68. Your Mom and Grandmom are amazing cleaners and organizers to the point of being borderline OCD. I did not inherit this trait, I hope you did.

69. Although we don’t get to see each other very often, I would love it if you would Skype or Facetime me so I can see your gorgeous smile.

70. Be the kind of friend you wish you had.

71. Play dress-up in your Mothers closet. Get her permission first!

72. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this world, (my friends and children can attest to this as well) I cannot stress to you enough, “Everything always works itself out.” This is my mantra.

73. If there is no one around to encourage you, encourage yourself. Grandmom taught us that. Just keep telling yourself, “I can do this, I can do this,” and soon you will find that you did it!

74. The word “listen” contains the same letters as the word “silent.”

75. Ask Grandmom to make you cheese toast in the broiler and a snack plate with sweet gherkins and crackers.

76. If Hollywood ever decides to re-make the movie “Pretty In Pink,” you would make the perfect Andie Walsh.

77. I hope you love the water. I want you to raft a raging river, kayak the rapids, water-ski on a lake, sunbathe in a swimming pool, tube the springs, learn the “butterfly” like your Mom, dance in the rain, and take long relaxing bubble baths.

78. I don’t like tea, whether it’s hot or iced, but I sure can make a mean pitcher of sun tea or sweet tea because a proper southern lady should know how. I can teach you.

79. “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” ~Shakespeare

80. Before you leave the house, make sure you have a tube of lipstick, tissue, a Sharpie, gum, your keys, and a toothpick in your purse. You never know when you will have to “MacGyver” yourself out of a situation. (Plus, the Sharpie is great for autographs and bathroom graffiti art!)

81. Emergency Box #1 (for the trunk of your car) ~ Make sure there is a quart of oil, a roll of paper towels, a roll of toilet paper, a flashlight, blanket, first-aid kit, jumper cables, bottled water, and basic tools. Be prepared.

82. Emergency Box #2 (by your front door or in the coat closet) ~ In case you need to evacuate due to weather or fire, you should have copies of important documents, a current photo of every family member, batteries, petty cash, pet food (if you have a pet), first-aid kit, a list of emergency numbers, and a roll of toilet paper. Customize these lists to fit your needs.

83.”Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9

84. When I was young and had the chicken pox, your Mom rode her bike all the way to the grocery store to buy me a coloring book and crayons even though we weren’t allowed to leave our street.

85. Every girl should have “THAT crazy Aunt.” Aunt Loree was THAT for me and I am THAT for you.

86. Your Daddy has loved you better and longer than any boy ever will.

87. Learn sign language.

88. Wash your face and brush your teeth every night before you go to bed. Kneel before you climb under those covers!

89. If you don’t know what to get your parents for Christmas and birthdays, make them a coupon book! Offer to wash the car, do the dishes, take Casey for a walk, clean out the fridge, or give a foot massage. They will love it!

90. Read the book ‘The House With A Clock In It’s Walls’ by John Bellairs.

91. Don’t be offended if you have to sit at the “kids table” during holiday dinners. Trust me, the conversation is almost always more interesting there than at the “adult table.”

92. Learn to make a bow with curling ribbon. I still haven’t mastered that art. Maybe Grandmom can teach us together.

93. Be with someone who makes you happy.

94. Keep a few books of ‘Mad Libs’ on your shelf for when you are bored. Your parents will do these with you and I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

95. When you look at a field of dandelions, you can either see 100 weeds or 100 wishes. I always see the wishes. You should too.

96. I hope you know I am here for you day or night. You can call, my door is always open, my ear is ready to be bent, and my shoulder is available to cry on.

97. Chocolate. Need I say more?

98. The best day of the week is TODAY!

99. It is yet to be determined if you will have a brother or sister. If you don’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make an impact on someone else’s life! “Adopt” a younger sibling. Help guide them, mentor them, be there for them, and teach them. I still have friends to this day that tell me what an influence your Mom was to them. You can do the same.

100. Last, but certainly not least, I want you to know that friendship means so much. You can choose hundreds of friends, or only a select few. They will come and go out of your life, but you will always have your family. We may make you scream and cry at times, frustrate you to no end. You may be positive that we don’t understand you, and sometimes we may not. But we will forever be here for you. We won’t go away. We won’t give up on you. We will catch when you fall (not every time) and we will pick you up and dust you off. We will support you and guide you and stay with you until the bitter end. We will fight for you. We will die for you.

It has been my pleasure to put this list together for you. I hope you refer back to it throughout your entire life. I am blessed to have you, sweet angel. I love you more than “100 Things” can ever express.

Posted in Family, Home, Personal, Relationships

The Screwdriver

I know I’m guilty of mostly posting about music, my kids, and shenanigans with my friends, but my favorite thing to think about, dream about, and post about is…

my grandson, Lyric!

For those of you that have not had the opportunity to witness the best 33 seconds of your life, here is a link to a YouTube video I posted about a month ago of what happens when you try to take away Lyric’s screwdriver.

If you’re having a bad day, this is sure to give you a smile!

Click here!

Posted in Personal

Facebook Hiatus

Since I decided to take a Facebook hiatus last Tuesday, I decided to make a Facebook page so I could still have an alternate forum to post my blogs to. I’ll continue on Twitter and occasionally post to Pinterest, but for those of you that would like steady links to my blogs, here is the link to my Facebook page…

http://www.facebook.com/misslizgooden click here

Let me know if you feel there is anything that needs to be added. Thank you for your interest in my stories and my crazy mind.

Posted in Family, Home, Music

Grande Pequeño

I don’t love the ‘work’ part of helping Mikayla with her homework, but I do love the time I get to spend with her. She is unintentionally hilarious. Last nights big assignment was from my least favorite class, Spanish II. She had to pick a person, alive or dead, and write a paragraph about them in English and Spanish. You were supposed to describe their appearance, likes & dislikes, career, where they are from, yada yada yada… you get the idea. So, she hands me the English version and asks for help translating. Her subject?

Biggie Smalls.

Now, I don’t know much about Biggie Smalls and I don’t know much about Spanish II, but I do know how to use Google Translate. I tried that. She wouldn’t let me… apparently that is taboo. She was moving along nicely, using her online textbook for vocabulary words and conjugating verbs while I sat there, perched on my bed being very little help. Dallas was next to me, working on Mikaylas Algebra homework and Brandon was sitting on the floor watching ‘Shipping Wars’ not wanting anything to do with these assignments. When she was done, she read out loud the finished product. I have to admit, it was pretty awesome and she read it with an adorable little accent, but the best part?

When she reached the likes/dislikes…
Biggie Smalls likes música, and dislikes Tupac. That’s right, she said it. When she was done, I asked her, “How do you say 2Pac in Spanish?”

Without missing a beat, she looked me dead in the eye and says,

“Dos Pac.”
We all laughed hysterically and I will never call in to question her Spanish abilities again.
Te amo mucho, Mikayla!