Everything you think you know about the “real world” is a lie

Everything you think you know about the “real world” is a lie.

{Probably propagated by a politician.  Or maybe the Illuminati… same thing, right?}

Not everything is fair, not everything is equal.

{MAAAAAAAAAA-OM!  Mom!  He got three pieces of gum and I only got twooooooo!}

Did you take three? Only you can limit yourself.  If you want three, take three.  Don’t take two then get mad when your brother gets three.

Sometimes those who should win don’t and sometimes those who shouldn’t win do.

Life is full of both opportunity and heartache.  You can pull yourself up or you can declare everything unfair.  But I’ve learned that the choice is mine.

I’ve competed in pageants, I was a cheerleader, and I was in a sorority.  I’ve pretty much done everything stereotypically anti-girl power that you can think of.  And, yes, these activities provided content for a “jock” younger sibling to ruthlessly make fun of me for it.  But it has prepared me for life.

{And, no, I didn’t wear fake hair, I didn’t duct tape my boobs together at age 5, or wear fake teeth on stage. 

I did, however, wear bloomers under my skirt when I cheered (never once “forgot” them), never made out with football player under the bleachers (or anywhere else… mostly because I don’t think any of them knew I was alive), and I never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings for the sake of being mean in high school.  I was intentionally mean to those who were mean to me first.  Cuz that makes it right.  

In college I was actually there to get an education, not an MRS degree, and I didn’t spend every weekend in a drunken stupor.  It was every other weekend.  And I only went to class while drunk one time.  Ok, twice.  Three times.  No, that was just buzzed.  Two times.}

When I was a micro-human I saw my first Miss America pageant.  I was probably two.  Because by the age of three I’d convinced my mom to sign me up so that I, too, could wear makeup and twirly dresses on a stage surrounded by clapping and adoring fans.

I quickly realized that it wasn’t just something that you show up for so that everyone could cheer for you.  These girls were competing!  Sure, I wanted a crown but apparently not as much as these MOMs did!  You’ve seen the shows on TV.  It’s really like that.  I didn’t do many of them but I showed up to a few pageants until I was 19.  Some I won, some I didn’t.  But I learned some lessons that are still paying off.

The lessons I leaned while competing in pageants:

  • Girls are ruthless
  • They learn it from their moms
  • Stage presence is everything. You can win in a $25 dress.  You can lose even though you are the “prettiest”.   Composure and grace will win {almost} every time
  • Some judges are unqualified to judge a pageant but their scores still count
  • And tantrums don’t change the numbers
  • Wit and quick thinking under pressure are essential

{I also learned that baton dropping twirling while singing “Dixie” out of key is considered talent.}

Along the same thought process, I REALLY wanted to wear a cheerleading uniform.  So I tried out.  Didn’t make it.  Realized I should try next time.  It’s amazing what happens when you try.

Lessons I learned while cheerleading:

  • Girls are ruthless
  • They learn it from their moms
  • Without trust people get hurt
  • One person’s bad day can throw off the whole squad
  • Hard work and team work pays off
  • The coach can make or break a season
  • It hurts to fall from a stunt onto your back on concrete. The second time hurts worse.

My first semester at UGA I wasn’t in a sorority.  I thought I’d organically make friends in class and for the most part I did.  But I was intrigued by the idea of sororities.  No one in my family had been a part of it in the past so I wanted to give it a shot.  I went through rush and pledged AOPi.

The lessons I learned during my time as an AOPi:

  • Girls can be awesome
  • They learn it from their moms
  • Friendships can form in unexpected ways
  • You will always be judged, even when you don’t realize it
  • Connections are invaluable

How does this apply to the real world, you ask?

Ever interviewed for a job?  Ever had a job that required networking?  Ever been in a relationship?  Ever breathed?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, you too could benefit from the life lessons learned by these “vile” activities.

For example, I’ve been in the workforce long enough to have been through my fair share of interviews.   I’ve conducted countless interviews and I’ve been interviewed more times than should be allowed.  Job interviews are one big pageant.  Check the nerves, stay calm, know what the judges are looking for and answer the questions you are asked in an intelligent manner.  That’s all you have to do.  The rest is up to the judges.

{Sometimes those judges are conducting interviews over the phone.  Sometimes they begin inhaling Oreo cookies during that phone interview so loudly it sounds like an ant eater is sucking them up through a vacuum hose.  Then they inhale milk.  And you can’t laugh because you want a job.  But you can IM your friends.}

Throughout my adult life I have had wins and losses.  Some wins I didn’t deserve.  Some wins I did deserve but didn’t get.  I could have thrown a tantrum.  But it wouldn’t have changed the numbers.

Or at least it didn’t for me that one time.

To get by in life there will be times when you have to depend on other people.  Some of those people will let you fall.  Let’s just say those are the people who won’t make the squad next season.

Conversely, some of the people you meet would take the hit so you don’t fall.  You trust these people to toss you up in the air as high as they can and you would trust them 100% to catch you.  These people will have your trust for the rest of your life.  They are the “keepers”.  And they get to judge tryouts next season.

Everywhere in life, in work, at home, in the community we all have times when we have to work together to be successful.  I’ve learned the hard way that marriage takes both parties being committed 100% of the time.  I’ve learned that parenting is much more successful when the parents can gang up on their kids as a team.

Roman comes upstairs: Mom, can I have chocolate milk?
Me: Sure, honey.
Roman: Yes!
Rick follows him upstairs: Uh, why did you say “yes”?  I just told him “no”. 
Me: Huh?}

It works much better when I say, “Have you already asked your dad?”  9.95 times out of 10, he has and his dad has told him “no”.  See?  Team work.  Parents = 1, Kids = 0.

Don’t be a judgy person by judging people just because you discovered they were cheerleaders or sorority girls.  We might surprise you.  And you might just learn something from us.

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Aliens, Pinterest, and Ted’s Oh My

Some random thoughts for your Tuesday:

I recently signed up for Ancestry.com again.  I signed up about 8 years ago but didn’t write stuff down so I forgot it all.  So far I’ve learned that anything cool or dramatic that would have happened was covered up.  By covered up I mean no one created a record for it.  This sucks because THAT’S the stuff I want to know!

For example: my great-great-grandfather’s birth certificate doesn’t have a dad listed.  And he was given his mother’s last name.  HELLO!?  Was his dad an ax murderer?  Was he famous (not sure that existed in 1860 but whatever)?  Was he a circus performer?  I need to know!

I should just make something up.  He was a stow-away from some exotic land.  Rachel Dolezal proved you can make up whatever you want about yourself and if you emphatically declare it to be so, so it is.

Maybe he was an alien.  That’s what Giorgio Tsoukalos from Ancient Aliens would say.  I’m going to start marking “other” when I have to define my race.  I’m half-human, half-alien.  Disagree and I’ll call you racist.

“Um, I identify with the greys.  It’s who I am on the inside.  Maybe I wasn’t BORN an alien but I definitely feel more comfortable with Martians sooooo…”

For me, Pinterest is that friend who always has awesome clothes that they found at the thrift store and shredded, cut, and sewed their way to super cool awesomeness.  They make it seem so easy.  “Oh, yeah, I just took some scissors and cut here, here, and here.”

Yeah?  Well I just created something that looks like a honey badger got stuck in a sack and tried to gnaw its way out.  Then put it on my body.  And promptly took it off and threw it in the trash can.

Or the friend whose hair always looks so cute, “oh, just braid your hair like you normally would and then put a bobby pin here, then braid more and put another one here, then you’re done.”  Heck yes, I can do that.  No, no I can’t.  How does she do that with just two hands?  I need at least five.

Sometimes I look at the instructions again thinking that I must have misread something.  It’s nice to have that reference because before Pinterest I would have to call my friends a thousand times then sometimes they would just stop answering.  Ok, they always stopped answering.

Side note: re-reading the instructions never works.  However, this will not keep me from trying to make a burlap wreath for my front door.  Stay tuned.  I’m about to forgo buying a $60 wreath so I can spend $200 on supplies to not make one myself.

Did you hear the news?  You can now be a life coach with just your Facebook page!  Got Instagram?  That works, too!  Take the “humblebrag” to the next level.  “I don’t normally do this, but my friends told me I should tell you how I can make you as awesome as I am.”  Nuh-uh.  That’s not what happened.  You are proud of yourself.  You think you did a great job.  You think you’re amazing.  Don’t try and church it up by blaming your friends.  Own it.  It’s ok.  We all know.

Friday night we asked the kids where they wanted to have dinner, expecting the ush answers “Chick-Fil-A!  Panera!  Chipotle!”  Nope.  Not this time.


As in Ted’s Montana Grill.


When I was seven I had no idea that things got fancier than Applebee’s.  Ricky Bobby must be from Conyers.  The difference between Conyers, Georgia and Alpharetta, Georgia: Ted’s Montana Grill.

When I was in middle school a friend’s family took me to a super-fancy restaurant in Atlanta complete with valet parking.  I almost had a heart attack because I thought we were getting car jacked.  Cuz there’s no valet at Applebee’s.

Chicken fingers and extra honey mustard has been replaced with bison burgers.  Bison.  Bi-son.

My daughter obviously has the palate of an adult.  This was confirmed yesterday when she tried to steal my prosciutto.

Two things I learned in Italy:

1) Gelato was created by God

2) So was prosciutto

3) So was wine

4) So was carbonara

5) And pesto

Ok, I learned more than two things.  My point, I don’t share prosciutto.  But she’s cute so I’ll share with her.

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The Curious Business of Mustachioed Gentlemen and some ladies

Mustaches fascinate me.  Maybe it’s because my dad always had one.  Until I was well into my twenties I don’t ever remember seeing my dad without a mustache.


It was a glorious one.  Thick, dark, mysterious.  Look at that beautiful flavor-saver!

They’re very covert, mustaches.  You can’t even see my dad in this picture, can you?  Nope. Just tha ‘stache. Tha show stealin’ ‘stache. 

No wonder Tom Selleck was a fan.

They have a long history.  Much like the cockroach.  They just won’t die.

Mustaches seemed to come out hot and heavy in the wild west days.  Kind of like a “hey, ladies, look at my hairy upper lip.  That means I’m a super hunky strong guy and I can shoot a gun.”  #swoon.

Hitler made them questionable.  But his was so tiny that the horrid actions of that horrible person were never officially blamed on the ‘stache.

“Listen, I get what you’re saying.  He’s the worst.  But please, don’t blame the ‘stache!”, argued every well-mustachioed man in the 1940’s to his wife.

For some, Uncle Sam made the decision for them.  Only clean-shaven men can shoot guns for ‘Merca!

Admittedly, it’s hard to come back from such a PR blunder as Hitler.  So as to avoid guilt-by-association, the ‘stache took a little time to “find himself”.  I imagine he high-tailed it to a posh rehab center somewhere in the Nevada desert to ride out the storm.

Re-emerging at just the right time, the moo-stache came back to us better than ever in the 1970’s.  The seventies.  Hair, hair everywhere.  And I mean everywhere… 

Thanks, Burt Reynolds.

And that symbol of manliness lasted well into the 1980’s.

But then something changed.

The 90’s were very unkind to the mustache as a result of gross fall out caused by the likes of Ron Jeremy and John Wayne Gacy-types taking on the upper lip accessory throughout the 80’s.  It seems as though at some point all the non-murderous, non-porn acting men said, “Enough is enough!”  And shaved the once-beloved symbol of manliness, no doubt crying a bit as each hair hit the floor (or the hair-catching container of those fancy shavers).

We saw the rise (pun intended) of the “porn ‘stache” as an insult to ‘stache sporters everywhere.  Also, puberty sufferers in the 90’s gave birth to the “crust ‘stache”.

While hilarious as a 14-year-old girl, I can see where that would be hurtful to a 14-year-old boy.  But he shouldn’t have pulled my hair so I stick by my name-calling.  Even 3$s8krj years later.

Justin Bieber still rocks tha crustache.  And on busy weeks when I hardly have time to pee, let alone make it to the salon, so do I. 

my stache

All it took was one creepy weirdo sporting a ‘stache while getting busted for something gross and BAM!  The once beloved and envied ‘stache is now a symbol of creepy weirdos everywhere.


Wait, that’s unfair.  The circus performers didn’t really damage the reputation of the ‘stache.  They seem to be pretty innocent in all of this.  AND, they have the super-cool handle bar mustaches.  Kudos.  If anything, they’re the victims in this, too.  Now I feel bad.

Ok, back to it.

Just when you thought they were gone forever (marked by the removal of Alex Trebek’s beautiful lip adornment), they’re baaaaaack!

Mustaches went on sabbatical just long enough to become vintage.  Like phone booths, old cars, aztec-print clothes, and anything ‘distressed’, being vintage made them cool again.  (Jury is still deliberating on the aztec-print).

Tom Selleck, you may come out now.

Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell Alex Trebek.

If my great-great grandfather traveled into the future, his look would be perfect.  Clothes and all.  Well, maybe the high collared shirt would have to go.  And the odd hat.  But the hair cut + mustache would = perfection among hipsters everywhere.  Maybe just throw on a tat or two and a flannel shirt.

Ok, maybe if my great-great grandfather and a lumber jack had a baby and- what?  It could totally happen.  Why do you assume the lumber jack has to be a guy?  Are you sexist?  I’m offended.  Now I’m too offended to properly end this post.

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Lies from the Internet

Lies the Internet Tells Us:

  1. Your made-from-scratch version of that Pinterest find will be beautiful and delicious.   Every. Single.  Time.
  2. I can order clothes from Asian discount websites and look super sexy cool for less than $20! As long as my waist is smaller than an average person’s arm.  Which is normal, right?
  3. Working out at home is easy. And your dog won’t hump you while you do crunches.  #noexcuses
  4. Cleaning the house is a breeze with the Pinterest Squeaky-Clean-House Checklist. And it’s totally worth spending 5 hours on with 2 dogs and 2 kids.
  5. This homemade face mask will eliminate any need for Botox! And it totally won’t make you break out.
  6. I can make a fortune as a stay-at-home mom with just my laptop!
  7. Yes, I CAN make that Minecraft cake.
  8. If I need $$$ I can just create a page to fund me.
  9. Ombre gray hair looks great on everyone. Especially 14-year-olds.
  10. A parenting manual exists. Actually, there are many.  How many?  Count the number of parents on Facebook.
  11. Kendra Wilkinson is still relevant. Kendra Wilkinson was ever relevant.
  12. Not airing the Miss Universe pageant would be a gross injustice. We would never get the eternal wisdom of the constants bestowed upon us in broken English that no one can understand.  Because translators are for wussies.
  13. Caitlyn Jenner went off-roading in heels and a dress. What?  You don’t?
  14. Chris Martin and Jennifer Lawrence are a couple we should care about.
  15. The death of a drunk guy who shot an M-80 off his head is tragic. Not at all the universe’s way of weeding out the “less-fit-for-survival”.
  16. We can fix our relationship with Facebook! Hold on, let me search for that article that my bestie (you know, the one I met on that cruise 11 years ago and haven’t seen since) posted to her cousin’s wife’s wall…
  17. Quinoa is delicious. So is kale.


Thanks for never letting me down, Internet.  You’re the BEST.

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Where Am I From?

Have you ever noticed that archaeologists, paleontologists, and various other scientists who form conclusions based on what old people left behind guess a lot?  There’s a lot of “We think” and “Based on what we found”…

What if it’s all wrong???

What if hieroglyphs don’t SAY anything?  What if it’s their way of playing tic-tac-toe or something?

What if someone got bored in a United Cavemen against Forced Wheel Labor meeting and started doodling on the cave wall?

I can tell you that in 2000 years if someone finds stuff left behind from me they’re going to think I’m a sangria-drinking whooooore who refuses to grow up based on my Pinterest account.

Going by my Netflix account they’d think I’m convinced the world will end in a zombie-apocalyptic catastrophe brought about by the return of Ancient Aliens.

If they have only my internet search history to go on, I’m totally screwed.

I doodle all over the notebook I have at work.  I’m not saying anything.  I’m drawing a bunch of squares over and over again.

“Oh, yes, do you see the way in which this ancient woman drew the line three times?  We believe this indicated she was a peasant coupled with the belief that she worked three jobs.  See here?  A demand letter from a boss named ‘CHRO of HR’ and here is another demand from a ‘ROMAN’ and another from who we conclude to be a princess based on her name ‘BELLA’.”

No, I was bored.  I drew over the same line three times.  THAT doesn’t indicate I’m a peasant.  Just don’t look at my bank statements.

Anyone remember the Family Guy episode where Peter and Brian are abducted by aliens and Peter and Brian have to piece together who they are after their memories are erased?  It’s awesome.  And they’re all wrong.

It is a huge show of conviction to dedicate your entire life to putting the puzzle of ancient history back together so that we can have some idea of where we came from.  But what if you’re all wrong because you missed one piece of the puzzle?

The other day I saw Roman putting a puzzle together.  He picked up one puzzle piece and, utterly convinced of where it was supposed to go, he pounded the puzzle piece with his fist until it was, in fact, a fit.

But the picture showed a pirate with his eye where his nose should have been.

And, that’s all I’m sayin’.

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Agree to Disagree


Growing up my sister and I had different views on almost everything.  Most notably, whether or not I gave her permission to “borrow” my clothes {for the record, I didn’t}, whether or not I was cool {for the record, I totes was and still am}, and whether or not I should drive her to college parties when she was 14 {I was a staunch supporter of “no”}.

As many sisters can attest, we didn’t always see eye-to-eye.  And for reasons other than me being 5’2” and she 5’8”.

It strikes me how 2 people who grow up in the same house, under similar situations, can have such different outlooks.  Our views on politics, our own lifestyles, even our parenting styles are different.

Now that I’m grown I recognize that that’s ok.  Us living differently doesn’t mean we can’t respect each other’s differences.  It doesn’t mean we can’t love each other.  I just wish I’d realized it sooner.

Most of our arguments could have easily been settled if I had just stopped trying to force her to see things from my point of view.  I had to be RIGHT.  I WAS right.  If she would just shut up and listen she would hear the brilliance in my words!  No?  Fine!  I’ll smack them into her! Oh, right.  She’s bigger than me.  Oops.

It should be illegal to be so wrong.


Looking back, I see that I was wrong.  Most of the time I was trying to be her mom.  She already had one.  She needed a friend and a sister, not another mom.

Even as an adult I still catch that tendency of trying to force others to see things my way.

{Ugh, how stupid can someone be???}

But without opposing views we would live in a boring, vanilla world.  If we were all the same there would be no excitement, no passion, no change.

I try to correct that for my family now.  I try to teach my kids to respect everyone’s differences.

In the last presidential election my daughter came home raving about how she hopes Obama would be reelected because he was the BEST.  SHE WAS FOUR!

Obviously, at the age of 4 she was repeating what she had heard in pre-K.  I used my super-human powers of deduction to ascertain the source of her statement.  I asked why she hoped he would win.  And she proudly stated that her teacher told her he’s the best.

It infuriated me.  I felt like someone tried to indoctrinate my impressionable child!  I explained to her quickly but delicately that she needs to form her own opinions and not just repeat what she hears.

I’m sure there are people out there who would say I was wrong for the way I handled it, but they can bite me.

My children will know that they can have any opinion they want as long as it is formed with intelligent reasoning.

Don’t ever follow the crowd because the crowd said you should.  Know where the crowd is going.  Who belongs to the crowd?  Why do they belong to the crowd?  What appeals to you about the crowd?

You want to follow a leader?  Fine.  But watch the leader’s movements.  Listen to the leader’s words.  Find the meaning in those words.  Don’t listen to promises, watch for action.  Research the leader’s track record.

Blind faith and broken promises are a disease.  It’s a disease that infects life at every level.  Politics, religion, marriage, friendships…

I fell victim to this in the past.  I don’t want my kids to do the same.

{Um, you just said that you love me but I just found a naked pic of some whoooore on our computer… I don’t understand.}

As an analyst for several years it was my job to look at data and interpret meaning.  If a department had a large number of employees who left, why did they leave?  Was the manager ineffective?  Was the workload too much?  Was the pay too low?

Once I could answer questions I could formulate a solution.  But that solution couldn’t be formulated with speculation.  You could totally miss the mark and risk solving a problem that never even existed.  Then you’re still stuck with the original problem plus wasted time and money.

I couldn’t simply say, “Well Joe’s department had a 90% turnover rate last year.  Joe IS an a-hole because he doesn’t clean out the microwave after he heats up his leftover fish.  So that must be why.  Let’s fire Joe.”  Joe’s people may really respect him as a leader.  It could be that his people left because the company itself sucks.

It seems that a lot of people lash out with emotional responses to opinions that offend them.  That’s where trouble starts.

Let’s look at some situations that I’ve dealt with recently:

Sometimes Bella comes downstairs ready to start her day and she knows she looks good.  Supporting evidence:

She has on a dress.  She’s fixed her own hair.  She has on her new sassy sandals.

Her mom and dad are super quick to tell her she looks ah-may-zing.  She already knows.  Just for reinforcement, she asks her little brother.

“Roman, does sissy look beautiful?”

At this point, Roman has just turned 4.  We all hold our breath because, let’s face it, it’s a crap shoot.  It could go well with a “YES!  Bella, you look so pretty!” or it could spiral down a dark hole of broken dreams and hurt feelings with a, “NOH!”

If he decides to disagree, it’s not because he genuinely feels that Bella isn’t pretty.  He just feels like disagreeing.

Bella’s knee-jerk reaction is to deflate and crumble into a heap of sobbing defeat while yelling at Roman for being horrible.  Then Roman yells back.  In the words of Charles Barkley, it’s vurry turrible.

But we’ve worked with her to understand the situation.

It’s up to Bella to recognize the source of the comment, understand that she still looks just as beautiful as she did before his answer, and let it go.  He is arguing for the sake of arguing.

Is Roman right?  No.  But the more you argue with him the stronger he will stand in defiance.


Roman LOVES mac-n-cheese.  Its cheesy goodness trumps anything else in the food department for him.  To him, macaroni and cheese represents a delicious meal.  Bella hates it. To Bella macaroni and cheese stands for gross.

Which child is right? Hmmm… that’s a head scratcher.

Starting about 2 years ago, Bella’s after-school-ritual was to get in the car after daycare and ask Roman a “this or that” question.  For example:

“Roman, who do you love more, me or Ms. Celina?”

She would then question his answer regardless of his response.


It took months for me to get through to her that her questions weren’t fair.  She was trapping him.  She wasn’t doing it on purpose; as a 5 year old she was just doing her thing.  But, he wasn’t old enough to understand what she was asking.

What’s sad is that some adults react the same way!  The media reacts the same way!  Leaders react the same way!  STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If someone lives differently than you do and it goes against every core belief you have, who cares???  Leave them to live in peace and they’ll likely do the same for you.

If someone is suspected of a crime, let them be convicted before you convict them in the court of popular opinion based on the way you edit a story and ruin lives in the process.

So, how about this:

Instead of getting offended by everything and reacting emotionally, how about we consider the source of the offense, excuse that person for having a misinformed opinion (from your standpoint at least) and go about conducting life in a way that would change their opinion with constructive action…

Who knows, maybe you’re both wrong, or both right or maybe… wait for it… maybe you’re wrong.  People are entitled to whatever dumbass opinion they want to have.  As long as it doesn’t physically affect you, feel sorry for them and move on.

After all, we know we look good so nothing else matters.

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