Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to use small children as football targets. your uterus a chance.

Hello! I would first like to say (or secondly, I guess "Hello" was first) I am SO sorry I've been such a blogging slacker (try making someone feel bad by calling them that name!). With the holidays in full swing and staying busy at work, I haven't had much time to sit down for a post worthy of your time. I also promised the next post would be humorous because I got all sentimental in the last couple. Don't worry...I've got plenty of material to entertain you this go 'round...

Let's start with some funny things that happened back on ol' Turkey Day. Every year, my immediate family and some of our extended family meet up in the woods for a potluck-type Thanksgiving. This is by far one of my favorite holidays because hardly anyone gets cell phone service, so we're able to relax in lawn chairs (after stuffing ourselves sassy) and truly enjoy each other's company. This year, I dressed like a pilgrim to really make the experience authentic. Did you buy that last sentence? Hope was a lie.

Back to more, usually someone will bring a football or baseball (something for us to do to make ourselves feel less guilty about the thousands of calories we've put away) to play with between feedings. Football was determined the physical fitness activity for Turkey Day 2011. A handful of us were throwing the football, including my distant cousin's little boy, who is somewhere around four...I think. I love kids (when they're not screaming or whining...or biting...or throwing up...), so I was making sure Toby was included in the fun. He was catching the underhand tosses pretty well, so I decided it was time to graduate him to the overhand throw. BIG mistake. After I pegged him in the head with a fairly decent spiral, he became the crying child. After this, I decided maybe it would be best if I skipped the whole kids thing. I mean, mine would obviously wind up in the hospital all the time from me trying to improve their skills. I call that love, but I'm pretty sure child services might have another name for it.

Concerning the kids chapter of this novel of a post...all it took was some time in Target's toy aisle for me to realize that maybe parenting would be more fun than I thought, and maybe I should give my uterus a chance to show me what it could do one day.

Our gym was holding a Toys for Tots drive, so I decided I would get in the giving Christmas spirit and pick up a toy or two. As soon as I stepped foot in the first aisle, it was like I was five all over again. I remembered the days when I wanted every last Barbie and baby doll on the shelf. I really am clueless how Santa always picked exactly what I wanted because I'm pretty sure they all made it to "Tor's Top 50".

Three toys (I finally parted ways with Mr. Potato Head) and a good $45 later, I was set with true Christmas cheer in my heart. I thought about who would get each gift and the fact that it may be his or her only present this year. This made me feel rather guilty as I thought back on how huge Christmas was when I was younger. It was such a big deal that I would literally go into convulsions on Christmas Eve. called me on it...that's a lie, too. Is it bad to lie if you tell the truth immediately after? Don't answer that, it will kill my jokes.

While guilt flooded part of my mind when I thought about how fortunate I'd been as a kid, the idea that I still get lots of goodies also took root in my brain. I know this sounds bad, and I do understand the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ, but I like a good surprise as much as the next person. I'm telling you this because I'm in my mid twenties (also have a sister creeping up on 30 and brother, who is 22) and still get just as good a loot as I used to! It might have something to do with the fact that my parents had my youngest brother when I was 15, but I also attribute it to the fact that none of us are married or have kids. My brain started churning on this one: if I can stay single the rest of my life, I can always be the kid on Christmas!

Now you see I'm back at square 55...which is: do I stay lonely and be the kid at Christmas (looking through stockings with my future nieces and nephews), or do I grow up and enjoy that feeling I get in my heart when I see a kid excitedly opening a present (the same feeling I got while shopping for the perfect three presents)? I guess perspectives of fun all change as we get older. Maybe I'll give my reproductive organs a shot.

PLEASE NOTE- Do not be under the impression that this post means I'm currently seeking sperm. I'm not. This was all meant for future tense purposes. So...please do not tell my family (specifically my mother) my favorite pastime is gettin' pregnant. It's not...and that is not a lie.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Balance:The ongoing battle of sky versus weeds.

As I told someone yesterday, "I never know what's going to happen when I leave the house." This statement holds truth for everyone because life is unpredictable. We never know what accidents or gold mines we might come across in one day's adventure. However, when I said it, I meant that I wasn't a planner. My spur-of-the-moment decisions usually lead to some very interesting stories with some very interesting characters.

The cold I began developing last week has continued to get worse, and I feel like spending all day out of the house yesterday (tailgating, going to the game, shopping, then hanging out with friends again) was probably not the best idea I've contributed to my recovery game plan. Luckily, I had today to sleep until noon (yep, played hooky from church). After treating myself to breakfast/lunch/dinner around 3 p.m., I decided I needed fresh air and some exercise. I began driving with the windows rolled down, looking for open spaces.

I recalled a state park I'd never explored before, but pass all the time, and decided to give it a go. I set out a little nervous. I do things by myself all the time, but a small woman on a nature trail armed only with keys, a cell phone and a lot of spunk probably would not have stopped a wild horse or human attack. Thoughts of snakes, bison (there are actually bison in this park) and vampires (this is debatable) clouded my brain. The weather was gorgeous, but I couldn't stop my mind from spinning in the direction of scary thoughts. I kept my eyes on the ground checking for things possible of biting me. When I finally looked toward the sky, I saw the tops of the old Oak trees with Spanish moss looking like God might have strategically hung it there himself. This instantly calmed me, and I was able to enjoy the rest of my walk (until nature called, and I pranced around the woods trying to find a discreet place to pop a squat).

With all this time to breathe, physically and mentally, I began to consider how similar life is to a walk in the woods. We are all brought into this world fresh, unassuming creatures. Why do we dream so big, and why are we fearless when we're kids? Because we've yet to experience the fears and disappointments in the world, so we keep our heads in the clouds without a care. As we experience those fears and disappointments, we focus on the "weeds", so scared to dream big because something or someone might drag us down in the process.

I began analyzing my own life, and thinking about how much of my time is spent among the clouds. Contrary to what most of you (who know me) may think, I actually spend more of my time in the weeds, worried about different aspects of my life. I came to realize we all have to let go at some point. While it's not practical to have your head in the clouds all the time, we all need more balance in our lives. If we lose that balance, the weeds will overtake us.

I went on a running date a few months ago (this does not mean I ran from him...we were simply going for a jog) with a guy I'd met a week prior. This guy was extremely nice and a perfect gentleman, but he worried about everything. During our time together that day, he said he constantly worried and second guessed his decisions because he knew there were always ways to improve everything he did. He was a coach, so I could see where this was coming from. However, I reminded him if he lived his life in worry, always second guessing himself, he would never be able to appreciate life and the gifts in it. He would wake up an old man one day, and would regret not living in the moment, enjoying the imperfections.

Wake up tomorrow and look at the sky. The weeds/responsibilities will always be there, but time won't. Appreciate the things that are bigger than us all, and make sure those you care about know it.

Sorry this hasn't been as light hearted and amusing as my other posts. I'm having a reflective "Sentimental Sunday". I promise to make you laugh in the next one, so stay tuned. If that's not enough to keep you, below is a picture of me from a zip line trip in Costa Rica a few years ago. I'm revealing it at my own expense for your personal enjoyment.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Forever love...and Granny's new man.

One of my favorite things to do is go to church with my family. It's all about God, but there's just this certain feeling about going back to your hometown and having those you love sitting right beside you. One of my favorite people is always there waiting on the rest of the family: my grandma.

Granny is a sweet little Southern lady, and never fails, she is always sitting the second row from the back in our lil' Baptist Church. If she's not there, we quickly leave to find her because we know something is wrong. However, she is usually there expecting the rest of us to be late. Because I live out of town, she's never positive when I'll make an appearance. It always gives me the best feeling when I slide in the pew beside her, and she gets that surprised look on her face and gives me a huge hug. Nothing beats it.

About a month ago, I was sitting in the second to last pew beside Granny and the rest of the family, when I looked down and noticed something: my grandma was still wearing her wedding ring. My Granny and Papa were happily married for more than 50 years. Unfortunately, he suffered a bad stroke in his seventies and passed away about 11 years ago. My grandma, who is now in her early 80s, is still very much self sufficient. She's slowed down some, but still gets around really well.

Seeing her wedding ring reminded me of hearing her tell someone (after Papa had passed), "I'll never marry again. He was the only one for me." Thinking about this almost brought tears to my eyes. Not sure if it was the overwhelming emotion of missing my grandpa, the fact that I've yet to find that significant other, or maybe just the deep respect I felt for my grandma for having that one love and standing true to it, even if it meant living out the rest of her years a little lonesome from time to time.

I understand that bad things happen to good people sometimes. And...I don't look down on anyone who's been married more than once. Sometimes, it just doesn't work. However, I hope (if I ever do get married) to follow in my grandma's footsteps. To know that even if my husband does pass before me, that I was satisfied enough with the "forever love" we had, to live out the rest of my life happy.

With the above said, I slipped into the pew this morning beside my Granny and got a huge hug again. We were finishing up the last hymn when Granny motioned toward the door, asking if I wanted to slip out early. She usually doesn't do this, so I just thought she was hungry. I caught a ride with her to our usual Sunday lunch place, and it wasn't long before she mentioned the Denver Broncos game starting at 1 p.m. Wait, let me re-phrase that. This is how she put it, "...and Tebow starts playing at 1 p.m." I automatically started giggling as I know my Granny and Mom both became huge Tebow fans when he began playing for the Florida Gators. I'm actually not sure either of them really watched any football before he quarterbacked. They quickly gained respect for his Christian ways (on and off the field), paired with his leadership qualities and athletic ability. Both women in my family are Gator fans turned Bronco fans.

I joined Granny for the first three (ugly) quarters of the game, and on the drive to my parents' house to watch the last (awesome) quarter of the game, it dawned on me: Granny may not ever get married again, but she's found herself a new man. And...just a word of caution, she's almost as faithful a fan to Tebow as she was a wife to my grandpa, so don't ever say anything bad about him in front of her (if you value your life).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

There's no place like someone else's home. And...first date fun.

Yesterday proved to be a very productive Saturday. Not only was I a wild woman and hit up the Parade of Homes with my mom, but I also got to be a third wheel on a couple's first date. Okay, technically they didn't know I was on the date with them, but I was there in full force...just left before the goodnight kiss (which I highly doubt happened). More on this later. Read on. I promise you will be amused.

For those of you who've never experienced a Parade of Homes event, you haven't lived. It combines a few of my hobbies: people watching, discovering different likes and dislikes of homes to contribute to my future dream house, and last...but most important...fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. "Chocolate chip cookies?" you ask. Yes, but here's a helpful Parade of Homes tip: you have to visit most of the homes to actually find what I consider the "jackpot house". Some got tacky and offered popcorn in Styrofoam cups. I mean seriously, were they trying to sell a house or take me to a ballgame?

My parents aren't looking to buy a house, but they are in the process of renovating their bathroom, so mom was trying to get some ideas. For this reason, I felt somewhat guilty listening to the realtors' five-minute infomercials. Actually, I only felt guilty at the "jackpot house" because I knew the realtor was really making an effort.

Let me give you some more tips on how to make the most out of your Parade of Homes tour:

  1.  Convince the person you are with to try out the tub or shower (fully clothed with no water, of course). Be sure to take a picture to document for future use (As demonstrated below).
  2. Sit down on one of the toilets (with pants on, of course), and freak out other people when they first walk in and haven't yet realized it's staged.
  3. Pick up one of the fake apples in the kitchen and wash it in front of the realtor and pretend like you're about to take a bite.
  4. Walk up to a fellow Parade of Homian and, with a very disturbed look on your face, ask: "What in the world are you doing in my house?!?"
  5. Walk up to a fellow Parade of Homian and ask: "Did you hear about the sex offender who lives next door?"

There's much more you can do...just use your imagination. This was just to help get the ideas flowing. You're welcome.

Unfortunately, my mom found a tile and style she loved, so I guess I'm going to have to start baking my own cookies. It was a sweet ride while it lasted.

From there, I took myself to a nice dinner. I usually sit at the bar, so I don't feel as lonely, but decided a table was a better idea last night. I was enjoying my tapas and glass of sangria when a young couple was seated at the table beside me. Within three to four sentences, I picked up it was a first date. Jackpot!

I found myself considering the dos and don'ts of dating (especially the critical first few dates) as I listened to the loud, overbearing young woman drone on about herself. I think the guy maybe got in five sentences the entire date. I was feeling bad for him, and predicting how there would probably not be a second date, when his phone rang and he answered it. He talked on it for about three to four minutes, and it was enough for me to decide that I would not solicit friendship from either of these individuals. I didn't want a headache from listening to her, and I didn't want his rude habits rubbing off on me.

I do realize that I, eating alone, was criticizing someone's first date (at least they had a date, right?), but I couldn't help and think the mistakes we all make too often in these situations. For instance, within the past two years, I've been hit in the face by a nervous guy who was spastically trying to give me a goodbye hug in his truck, and I've had a guy squeeze a tail off a shrimp and get shrimp juice and seasoning all over my new blouse. On the other side, I'm sure I've told too much about myself (rather than keeping some mystery as my parents instruct) or have let my goofy side come out too early. We're all human, though. If the other person can't accept that, it's not meant to be.

Lessons to be learned this post: Parade of Homes is as interesting as you make it...and delicious, too. Also, keep those bad first dates coming. It provides us lonely people entertainment and blogging topics.

I went to see a movie today and stopped in the bathroom on the way out. I was in the stall when I heard this woman walk in whistling like nobody's business. Seriously, she had a stronger whistle than Andy Griffith. As I hovered the bowl, in my best effort not to touch the seat, I tried to determine the tune. It sounded very animated, but I never could put my finger on it. It didn't take long before I started giggling uncontrollably in my own stall.

That's it. That was the story.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

No worries...God and Torie are watching over you.

I am a Christian and grew up in a Christian home, so when someone says, "God is always watching you," the thought doesn't bother me. I know the Boss upstairs has my best interest in mind. In general, though, it is a little creepy to know someone is watching you...especially if you just happen to catch them staring. For example, I've watched movies before where one of the scenes showed the husband watching his wife while she was sleeping. Some might think that's sweet. It would freak me out. If you can't sleep, get up and do productive.

This whole thought of people watching people (I guess I have no room to talk. I've already admitted in an earlier post that I enjoy observing people interact.) came to me in the Best Buy parking lot this afternoon. I was finishing off a delicious Chick-Fil-A snack (knew they wouldn't want my greasy paws touching electronics), when I noticed a sweet-looking elderly lady walking her small dog out of PetsMart and struggling to get him in the back seat. My initial thought was, "Wow, Tor, that's probably going to be you someday. Your day will revolve around getting dog food from PetsMart." I thought some other things that I'm not going to mention in this blog, and then it hit me: I'm watching this woman, and she has no idea. Who is watching me?

I looked around (with french fry crumbs probably all around my mouth), and felt safe no one was watching me. I then thought about all the times I do crazy things and think no one can see me. These "crazy things" usually involve music. I jam out in my truck. I also enjoy jamming out in the gym parking lot. This has caused some humiliation before because when my ear buds are in and my iPod is on, no one exists but me and Daddy Yankee (he is a Latino rapper for any of you who aren't familiar). Actually, it was Miley Cyrus who I was dancing with one day in the parking lot. She told me to put my hands up in the air because they were playing my song, and I was so lost in the music that I listened. About the time I was swinging my hands around in the air, I noticed a very cute guy smiling at me from inside his truck. Okay, so yeah, he was laughing at me. I took a bow and waved.

Think of the habits we all share. The ones we pray to the good Lord no one sees us in action. Maybe those pants are just a little too tight, and you have to pick your wedge; maybe you ran out of Kleenex to blow your nose (you know what I mean); maybe you get caught re-adjusting your bra...the list is endless! Who is sitting in the Best Buy parking lot watching you pick your nose? It's probably just God, but be careful...I might be there watching (and picking up future blog topics), too.

Alone at last! Or are you...?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mama tried. And succeeded.

Ever heard the wise words of Merle Haggard: "Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied...that leaves only me to blame 'cause Mama tried"? I love singing along to that song, but really don't relate to it. Yes, I'm probably a little more outspoken and have a little more rebel in me than my mom would've preferred, but the things she taught me stuck. Not to say my dad didn't have a say in schooling me on the ways of life lived right, but mothers just always seem to be more vocal about it. "You just wait 'til you get older. Your turn is coming..." they say.

Many times this phrase (I could hear it as soon as her mouth opened) applied to her hoping I would have kids one day and would get my payback for all the really cool stuff I taught my youngest brother, who just happens to be 15 years younger than me. Other times, it applied to life in general. For example, I remember her taking me and my other younger brother to a college football game when I was in middle school and my brother was in elementary school. A couple of drunk, middle-aged men were swearing like sailors in the row behind us. My mother, who doesn't drink and has maybe said a total of two-three curse words her entire life, had enough. She snapped, turned around and yelled, "There are children here!" I'm not sure what my brother was thinking, but as an early teenager, I was mortified and I will never forget it.

There comes a time in most women's lives when someone will say, "You remind me so much of your mother." Let me preface what I'm about to say by saying this: I love my mom. She is a beautiful person, both inside and out. However, no matter how awesome a girl's mother might be, it is always a little painful to hear someone say you are turning into her (no offense, mom...if you're reading this). I guess it's a little awkward for me, with no kids, to feel like I should have maternal instincts already. Reality set in for me this past weekend.

I drove up to my Alma mater Saturday to meet some friends to tailgate and watch the game. Being an alumna for four years moves you to the general admission seating, rather than the student section. My friends and I could've wrestled our way into a seat, but at this point in time, not having a frat boy (who has been shotgunning beers since the night before) sweat on or step on (pick your poison) you is actually preferred. Anyhow, we found some seats just to the right of the student section and only four rows up. Perfect. We hadn't made it to the second quarter before some intoxicated youngins, who were maybe old enough to legally drink started heckling the visiting team. Heckling I can deal with. Heckling while dropping the F-Bomb and all other types of profanity around families with young children, I cannot. It only took two minutes of listening to this before all 5 feet (maybe 5'3 on Saturday...I was wearing the cute wedges) was down there teaching three or four college-aged boys about a lil' something Aretha Franklin likes to call R-E-S-P-E-C-T. They piped down until after halftime, and still weren't nearly as bad when they showed up from the keg late in the third quarter.

Driving home yesterday, I couldn't help but think about how it had actually happened: I was starting to turn into my mother. What I was so embarrassed about almost 15 years ago was something I was now standing up for and actually vocalizing my thoughts (good thing my maybe future children couldn't see me!). This thought didn't sadden me, though. It actually made me proud to realize I had been raised right, and I possessed something a lot of people are lacking nowadays: class. I mean c'mon folks, what are y'all breeding out there? I'm still teetering on the decision of whether I should have kids someday, but I think I will for two reasons: 1. Because I will dress them so cute, and 2. Because their classiness will make the world a better place. I can't promise they will be intelligent or even good looking, but they will be stylish, respectful and will know how to act in public. Guess I best start working on that husband before this place falls to shambles. The world needs my kids!

Now, you may ask me, "Torie, what is classy?" I once defined my classiness to a friend: "Of course I'm classy. I wear pearl earrings when I skinny dip." Of course, this is a complete lie. I'm not an idiot. I know better than to wear expensive earrings when I go for a "dip". I think he bought it, though. Which leads me to my next major point: sometimes white lies are okay...just kidding, just kidding...(Mom, maybe you should stop reading now...).

Take away for the read: stand up for what you believe in and don't always take "You remind me of your mother (or father)" as a bad thing. Some of us were fortunate to have parents who raised us right. For the rest of you, who were not so fortunate, this is an open invitation to my support group. I can school you just as easily as I taught those young whipper snappers this weekend. Feel free to reach out...I'm here for you. And...until next time, keep it classy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taking a lunch break...Wal-Mart style.

I've recently gotten in the habit of taking "Wal-Mart lunch breaks". What does this mean? Well, have you ever witnessed someone say they were taking a lunch break at 8 a.m. (or p.m. for that matter)? I'm setting the trend for these lunch breaks, and I'm pretty sure it's already the new rave (catch could be popular before everyone else, except Wal-Mart employees...they've got us all beat!).

Let me get back on track. So, I decided to take an 8 a.m.- 9 a.m. lunch break this morning because very few things make me happier in the morning than a tasty breakfast. I've come across a restaurant in town that I'm declaring my favorite breakfast spot. I would love to share this secret dining spot with you. However, realizing this blog is public to any psycho who might want to stalk me, I'm going to look out for number uno and keep it vague. I mean c'mon...someone could surprise me during my lunch break and poison my oatmeal (or grits...I don't eat oatmeal. I try it every year because it's nutritional; hasn't found a place in my stomach's heart, yet.). If you know me personally, contact me, and I'll let you in on this fantastic restaurant!

Getting back on track...again. I decided last night that this morning would be an atypical lunch break. I set my alarm for 6 a.m. in hopes I could make a 7 a.m. breakfast and have a traditional lunch break, too (yeah, I have a healthy appetite...and I wish it would stop growing on me, literally). It wasn't until 7:05 a.m. I realized that hitting the snooze button until 7 a.m. doesn't actually get me to breakfast at 7 a.m. (I did not earn my college degree on the basis of being smart or a quick learner...wait, that sounded bad. It's also not because I was scandalous. Okay, I'm now going to jump in this hole I just dug myself).

INTERMISSION: Who's still with me, and who am I confusing beyond all belief?

I finally made it to breakf...lunch, and it was everything I had hoped: great service, friendly staff and a delicious breakfast that delivered me into the world all fat and sassy-like. It also put me into an unbelievable state of mind for the remainder of the day. I was fueled, in a good mood and ready to be productive (although the pancake with peaches kind of made me want to crawl under my desk and take a nap...and I had to take off my large, decorative belt to stop the stomach pains, which ruined my stylish outfit...not because I had an accident as a result of the pains. Geez O' Petes, here we go again...)

The point to be taken from this particular post? We all need to switch things up every now and then to keep life exciting. A routine and consistency is good, but life is for us to live and explore (that doesn't mean to cheat on your spouse...).

Also, try to create your day with some of the fun stuff first. I spend so much of my day thinking about what I get to look forward to at the end (gym, meeting friends or family for dinner, etc.) that it really distracts me from reaching my full potential at work. Not to say I wasn't happy leaving work at 5:30 tonight, but the relaxing morning I'd had really enabled me to be more satisfied for the rest of the day. Sometimes the day starts out crummy: you get a speeding ticket, you spill coffee on your shirt, your dog pees on your leg (you know, typical stuff). Those days are going to happen, but we can all do so many other out-of-the-box things that really creates a good day and mood from the start. Try eating lunch at 8 a.m. You might spill coffee on your shirt, but the pancakes with peaches (sans belt) will totally be worth it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A circus cannot exist without a freak show.

I grew up in a small, rural town. I grew up on a farm. I grew up the middle child. These are three facts, I believe, will lead you to "follow me" (in the most non-cultish way imaginable, of course...I've never even mixed Kool-Aid!) and my Torie Stories. What influence would any of these three factors have on the likelihood that you will enjoy reading my thoughts? One word answers it all: boredom.

No, no, no...I'm not saying you will only read Tor's Circus when you're bored (or maybe you will). I'm saying that God crafted my life early on (small town, farm, middle child), so that I would develop a wild imagination, keeping me entertained and, in return, entertaining others.

I can't recall at what point I took joy in observing other people and how they react in different social environments and situations, but it has become one of my favorite past times. A hobby such as people watching is a deadly combination when paired with an imagination like my own. One thought leads to another, and by the time it's all said and done, I've developed theories that anyone can use practically in his or her own life. Okay, they're not always practical. However, if you have a sense of humor similar to mine, they will make you giggle (that's right men, you will giggle).

Why "Tor's Circus"? There are so many acts going on in my head, I can't even keep up with...or focus on one act at a time. There is no ringleader under this Big Top, so expect some crazy catastrophes in written form. So ladies, gents and children of all ages: sit back, grab a popcorn and a beer, and enjoy the freak show going on in my head!