Good Things About February

Posted by Shelley on Sep 1, 2010 in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley

sooooo, I haven’t blogged in so long I thought I would post one that I wrote a few months ago. In February.  February 26th, 2010 to be exact.  At 9:18 in the morning.  I will post it *as is*; I will not add, delete or change anything from that moment in time when I originally wrote it.

What is interesting about this post is seeing that number one and number seven are in every way, shape and form, more wonderful than we ever could have imagined back in February.  It also makes me laugh that number 5 is happening yet again, (this Friday) and number eight has become a necessity, much like my iPhone.  And oxygen.

As for the whole number twelve thing I would like to note that there are no spelling words in 6th grade.  At least not yet.  And if there are I think being in 6th grade means you get to call them out to yourself.

1) my sister Stacey told me a couple of weeks ago that she is expecting a baby! wow! God is good!
2) when I gave Canon his Valentine he said, “you made my heart super happy mom.”
3) Became better friends with those I need to become better friends with. You know who you are!
4) Won $54.00 or so at the Kenny Roger’s slot machine. This is not a bad thing. But does that really make it a “good” thing? Discuss amongst yourselves.
5) Finally got some blonde highlights back in my hair.
6) Facilitated Molly’s baby’s daddy making a visit (like 8 or 9 visits). Not sure if it worked or not but there’s nothing like having your dog right under your foot when this type of thing happens.
7) Helped mom make an offer on a house. It might not be “the one” b/c it’s not gone to contract yet but that is a huge step. HUGE.
8) Began setting the coffee maker for 6:30am. With coffee in it.
9) Realized more. Thought about it less.
10) And on that note, I began appreciating the freedom one experiences when you don’t care so much. I care, but just not as much as I used to.
11) due to an excessive amount of something I do not know what I will write here in the number 11 space.
12) and Melodi recognizes that at least spelling words are *something* she will use in the future. not to say that all that other 5th grade academia is not important. I’m sure it is. Like I use it so much everyday that I remember it on a regular basis. yeah. right.
13) February was good. All in all, it was good.
14) confirmed that most events you want to remember are the ones that you walked away from but were glad you have a picture in which to remember it.


Shelley’s Day at the Masters

Posted by Shelley on Apr 8, 2010 in Real Life Stories

Originally written on April 10th of last year, here are my thoughts on spending a day at Augusta National. This was day one of the Masters Golf Tourney, 2009.

I never got around to posting it…well…for a lot of reasons…I brought Dad a Master’s golf shirt back from the trip.  It was a big deal for me to give it  to him.  I won’t ever forget that.  It was associated with a good memory of my Dad and those are few and far between.  Just a short 360 something days ago.

But here it is today. So glad I wrote these things down, too much has happened since last year to remember it all. The significance of a weblog strikes again.

The first thing I noticed was the wooden log bench at each hole, right where everyone would tee off. At every bench there was an igloo cooler. The bench was a lincoln log bench, like it was an original, made years ago. And it probably was. Next I noticed 2 pieces of wood about 8-10 feet away from where you would tee off. And they looked really old too.  The “tradition” of the Masters is a strong one, with no digital scoring – the leaderboard is WAY OLD FASHIONED, no advertisements anywhere to speak of and the fact that many people I was hanging out with that day were generational members of a golf mecca that most people only get to see on TV.

I realized then that I was looking at a moment in time that was in every way, trying not to change, year to year.

next was the quietness of a crowd

the beauty of the place

the tradition

the respect

the what the heck am I doing here?

the sounds of the planes above

the hospitality cottage

the restrooms, complete with travel toothbrushes (just in case)

the no phone/camera rule

the irony of us being at an event with a media/technical “blackout” on Mike’s birthday

and I ate a bunch of peanut m&m’s


Birthday Week

Posted by Shelley on Mar 29, 2010 in Real Life Stories, kids

I think most of us would agree that birthdays don’t just last a “day” anymore. Don’t we all celebrate at least 2 or 3 times, maybe more? Between friends, family, work, school, whatever the case may be… there are usual multiple celebrations. I wonder if it’s always been this way? All I know is around here there is generally a birthday week, where we eat, drink and be merry more than once. It’s Melodi’s week this week!

Wow, I’ve managed to keep this blog since 2006 when Melodi was in 1st grade. So, in keeping with the birthday week theme I am going to re-post my thoughts about my precious daughter from years past. No crying allowed, only extra helpings of ice cream :)

here is one from September 2, 2006 – never published to the official blog but I found the draft saved after all these years…


15 years ago

Posted by Shelley on Mar 28, 2010 in Real Life Stories

I was on my honeymoon!

We stayed on the “clothing optional” side of the beach. And… the hotel staff went on strike about 3 days into it. Management had to wait tables, etc. and they gave us 3 free nights which was supposed to make up for the rioting outside our door (we used those nights at another time, on another trip back to Grand Lido). And the travel wholesale agency went out of business that same week so our airline tix back home were no good. And an old man died naked on the beach. No, that was our second trip back there a few years later, when we booked the 3 nights for free. ya’ll, I can’t make this stuff up.

Honeymoon. March 1995. Grand Lido, Negril. Awesome.


A Bug’s Life (shelley style)

Posted by Shelley on Mar 24, 2010 in Mental Illness, Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley

One day a cricket was minding his own business. The life of a cricket is pretty routine…chirping, eating, chirping, trying not to get eaten, chirping…

But this day was different. Someone needed to feed some lizards back at the pet shop so this cricket had a date with destiny.

He watched as other crickets were picked up and carted away in plastic bags with egg crate looking things in them. He held his breath. “I am just an innocent bystander here, looking for something to eat and now THIS!” How did this happen he wondered? Most definitely the wrong bug time at the wrong bug place.

It was over in a matter of minutes. And there he stood – untouched. No worries. So he thought.

But everytime he went out he had visions of big sneakers and plastic bags and well, he just couldn’t shake it. All I want to do is live peacefully but what do I do with what I witnessed? Where do I put that in my little bug cricket brain, he asked himself?

Other crickets said to him “get over it!” or “it wasn’t you, it was THEM, you’re still here, it’s all good.” He wanted to believe them, really he did. But it was not sinking in. Just too much drama in that one tiny moment of his little cricket life. Now, it was chirp, eat, worry, think, lament, panic, eat, try to sleep, chirp, eat, worry, think, lament, panic…well, you get the picture.

Amazing how one moment in time changes the way you chirp.


A Dead Battery When You’ve Already Saved

Posted by Shelley on Feb 22, 2010 in Real Life Stories

So I’m at Publix today, trying to figure out if the www.southernsavers.com has any help to offer me in the way of saving $$$. A friend of mine asked me about this type of thing in December, she asked me to go try it and then “teach” a small group about it… that is, if it worked. Finally in February I had another friend turn me on to the website and give me the 5 minute “how to” lesson. I decided to try it. Today.

The premise is simple: typically we go the pantry, see what we are out of and proceed to make the list. When we do that we are at the mercy of whatever the store wants to price it b/c of the whole demand/supply thing or something like that. Anyway, long story short, when we do this we pay whatever the store wants us to and this website teaches you how to hack the coupon method and therefore, only pay the lowest price available during a 6 week couponing cycle. I think there is something to it b/c I have always thought EVERYTHING is negotiable. The thing is this way you are negotiating the lowest price with the help of a website that does much of the work for you, so you still pay the store the lowest price possible without haggling with the cashier at the checkout.

Really. Never pay full price. I’ve been known to do this at the Kiwanis Christmas tree sale. yeah, the $$$ was for a good cause but I didn’t pay full price. I talked him down $15 on a Christmas tree. Because EVERYTHING really is negotiable. It just depends on how much work you want to do on the front end. Doing the whole, “I read this in consumer digest and here are the best price points on this, or that or whatever…” takes time. Asking the manager “is that the BEST price you can give me???” takes time. And sometimes going to the store and demanding they still honor the warranty even when it’s 355 days later is time. It’s effort. It’s work. But $100 later it doesn’t feel too bad.

The irony is this. I went to the website, did my due diligence, thought to myself, “we are only going to spend $50 on groceries this week, let’s just see if this works…” and I left with a publix receipt that read, ” your savings at Publix, $40.51″. I paid $45.10. Mission accomplished.

When I got out the car, it wouldn’t start. Didn’t turn over. Needed a new battery.

I will spare you the details of how much “time + effort = work” I spent in just trying to make this ONE trip to Publix and testing the $$$ saving method. By the time I left I spent less than $50 and saved $50. Again….mission accomplished.

The problem was trying to leave the parking lot. I guess we got the car battery plenty cheap since the $$$ I saved went directly to purchasing it.

Welcome to my world my friends. I think my entire existence is the definition of “irony.” That’s not all bad, but really, I was trying to save $$$. You would’ve thought I could’ve bask in the whole “I saved $50″ for at least 24 hours. I think I got 24 seconds.

I’ll try this again in a few days.

Unless we run out of everything in the meantime. Or if it snows. Or if the entire economy collapses before I have a chance to try it out again and we begin looting and pillaging. And come to think of it, any of those things *could* happen. Sounds like a whiney song made popular by an even whinier singer in the 1990′s. Don’t cha think???


02 of 10

Posted by Shelley on Feb 7, 2010 in Real Life Stories

It’s been an exciting start to the month of February around the Shaw house! 

We began 02/1 0 with my melanoma removal at St. Vincent’s Outpatient Surgery Center on Monday.  That is not a fun way to start the week.  Now, 18 year old Shelley did not consider how 37 year old Shelley would feel about interrupting life and having a wide area incision across the right side of her abodomen when she was lying in the tanning bed, oh, nearly 20 years ago.  But I am so ready for this tape to be off, for my stitches to be out and for my stomach to stop looking like the meat section of the grocery store.  And I am going to have to have seriously de-tox because my system is all of whack with hydrocodone and various other narcotics not to mention bigger than ususal doses of steroids running through my body.  I just feel all jacked up.  Yuck. 

But it  hasn’t been all bad.  Molly went into heat so we arranged visits with Winston, the poodle, (aka Molly’s babies daddy), who is 13 years old and in possible need of doggie viagra.  Honestly, being doped up this week is probably the only way I could *truly* handle this.  Finally, on Winston’s 5th or 6th visist Canon says, “Look mom, Winston is dancing with Molly!”  And I’m like, “yeah, I guess you could call it that.”  He finally determines that Winston is on Molly’s back looking for the puppies.  Lortab anyone? 

I got my fix of Oprah, Judge Joe Brown and R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” hip-hopera.  That would be thanks to Mike, for dvr-ing the “most annoying but can’t look away from it” music video of all time.  We proceded to find Weird Al’s version, “Trapped in the Drive-Thru” and realized an entire hip-hopera had been written about us.  Oh and I was only taking ibuprofen so I can’t blame it on the pain meds. 

I got to sleep a little more except I will say lortabs make me feel like I’m tripping out w/r/t the dreams I was having.  I can’t remember enough of them to record them here but I do know the dreams were all too real.  So, I guess you could say I slept more but didn’t get much “rest”. 

Basically my brain has been in a little bit of overdrive.  Kind of like my dog. 

I did manage to cook, clean, oversee homework and attend a parent/teacher conference this week.  Kids probably didn’t see much difference in regular mom vs. medicated mom.  Poor Mike though.  Through sickness and in health.  He took me out tonight though.  We wound up at the Salvation Army.  He bought a lovely picture of an eagle, completely laquered on beveled wood.  NIB I might add.  Then, he bought me a piece of costume jewelry, only found at a thrift store.  It is a golden squirrel pin/brooch.  I can’t make this stuff up. 

And that my friends, is how we roll.  In the Crown Vic ’04.


WDW, Then and Now

Posted by Shelley on Dec 28, 2009 in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley

Mike’s parents gave the gift of Walt Disney World for Christmas!  Except we are here for New Years 2010!  ¡Felíz año nuevo!

The first time I EVER came to Disney World was in a modified “woody” buick station wagon that we bought at the square Don Drennen dealership, which will only mean something to you B’ham folks.  I think it was 1982.  That might have been the 10 year WDW anniversary?

We stayed in the Contemporary, got our picture made at the Old Timey Photography Studio on Main Street…. and here’s the best part, I brought a friend with me!  Leah and I slept in the back of the station wagon, this was long before the police actually stopped you because no one was wearing a seatbelt and the kids roamed free in the floorboard, backseat and frontseat of the car.  Yes, that was LOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG time ago.

Mom and Dad planned several trips to Disney when I was growing up.  I am too tired to remember them all, but I can think  of the trip with Leah, the trip with Stacey when she came for the first time and the trip with Kelsey when she came for the first time.  We have incredibly cute pictures from the trip with Stacey, she was such a doll, with all her curls and around 3 years old too.  Kelsey came when she was 5 too.  I loved every minute of that trip, watching here take it all in.  Which means those magical ages of 3-5 years old, when you *believe* everything about WDW, are truly priceless.  I am noticing on this trip that you totally outgrow that by the age of 10.

I have great memories of highschool band trips to WDW, marching and performing in both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.  Not to mention the first trip I took with Mike, a couple of years after we got married and Canon’s first trip in 2006.  I think we certainly have paid someone’s salary at Disney, throughout the course of these trips.

We started our week yesterday, with the 10 hour (12 hour with stops) drive from the ‘ham to the most magical place on earth.  I remember flying a couple of times, once on Eastern Airlines (am I dating myself or what?) and again when we brought Melodi for the first time in 2004.  We flew the straight shot flight out of B’ham and stayed at the Port Orleans Resort.  8 full days and Mike documented it very well in iPhoto.  She was 4 years old and I was 12 weeks PG with Canon.

But I digress.

I was preparing for our trip over the weekend, 24 hours after Christmas day, washing clothes and packing…making very last minute reservations for our early arrival since our resort reservations don’t happen til Wednesday and we got here Sunday night.  I don’t recommend this btw.  At least the part about last minute reservations.  After traveling 12 hours by car and then having some serious issues upon check-in due to…whatever you want to call it…not good.  But nothing really prepared for the emotional toll this would take on my brain.

I’ve mentioned several “firsts” here, my “first” trip, my sisters “first” trips, Melodi’s “first trip.”  This is my “first” trip to Disney World with my Dad being gone.  And that is a lot to process.

So, here is what I have thought about:

1)  Dad and Mom brought me here as a child.  And my “last” offiicial family (of origin) trip with them was to WDW in 1994.  I remember that week well b/c  I had just graduated from college.  I got a phone call the week we were here for an official job offer at WBRC.  I think the first person I told when I got the call was my Dad.  I took the job!

2)  They spent a heck of alot of money at the  Contemporary, the luau at the Polynesian, the downtown disney resorts, getting us here when Epcot first opened, and many, many other things I totally took forgranted.

3)  Pretty much everywhere I go in the Magic Kingdom or Epcot will hold a memory of my Dad.  Dang it, that just makes me want to cry.

He loved to bring us here.

Now I’m here with my kids and there are not enough electric outlets in this hotel room to re-charge all the electronic devices we brought on this trip.  A major criteria for choosing our hotel was if there was free (in room) internet connection.  And the Wal-Mart down the road is the exact equivalent to a 3rd world country (I know this because I lived in Guadalajara).  There are millions of people here and most of their currency is worth more than my American dollar.

So, that is, in a nutshell, the difference between then and now.  But in my heart there is so much more than that.


A Decade of Swapping Some Christmas Cookies

Posted by Shelley on Dec 23, 2009 in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley, kids

Christmas Cookie Swap #10 happened at approximately 14:00 hours today.  From here on out we’ll take it up a notch around here and there will be more excitement than usual!  Our cookie swap means Christmas Eve is usually within 24-48 hours of the event.  Here we are!

When Melodi was born I wanted to have a tradition with her that would last longer than I would.  I mean, eventually I won’t be here anymore but she will and will hopefully carry on some of the things we did while she was growing up.  Up until recently I never really grasped that fact as the truth.  I’m here to tell you, it is the truth with a capital “T”.  We don’t live forever but our memories and traditions can.

So, my aunt gives me a Christmas book, a journal which records Christmas for the next 10 years.  This was in 1999.  We are 10 years later and it’s 2009 and this will be the last entry in this little book.  Where, oh where, does the time go?  Oh, I know.  It’s really not that fast.  In fact, it’s a long, slow process but that’s another post.

It’s so funny to look at this family Christmas book  b/c 1)  you can’t read my handwriting and 2)  I stopped journaling in it about  half way through.  That would be when Canon was born.  But I always recorded our cookie swaps and now have 10 years worth of them chronicled in the book.

Every year for our cookie swap I mailed out an invitation, created a “menu”, created fun cookies and anitcipated the day of the party.  Each year Melodi has taken on more responsiblity for the party, by addressing the envelopes, cleaning the bathroom, sweeping off the front porch and finally, baking the cookies.  This year she did all of that except address the envelopes.  Why not the envevlopes?  B/C there were no invitations.  This year you got an email.

She loves this tradition!  And I want her to have it long after I’m gone.  Which means Melodi, if you ever read this, please have the cookie party.  No matter what.  Life will change and be a little different, year after year.  But make room in your heart for our cookie swap.  And when I’m too old to participate, bring it to me at the old folks home.

And for those of you who know my incredible, has her act together daughter, know that she will.


Once Upon a Time

Posted by Shelley on Dec 7, 2009 in Real Life Stories

There was a wardrobe.

And whenever Shelley felt like it she could jump in it and escape.

Into a world which was much different than the “real” one she found herself in.  (ended with a preposition, can’t help it).  She received the wardrobe as an inheritance of sorts.  Her dad’s Uncle Stacey had previously housed the wardrobe.  (I think I have this correct.)  But when he died, or his wife died, the house needed to be emptied and Shelley’s parents got the wardrobe.

The bedroom furniture Shelley had was among some of the very first furniture her parents acquired.  It was old, really old.  An antique when they bought it so that meant by the time Shelley had it it was antique x 100.  The bed was known as a “cannonball” style since on the headboard and footboard displayed these really big balls (if that makes any sense).  The chest of drawers were incredibly deep, the best ever.  They could hold lots of clothes and especially diaries.

It should be noted that the wardrobe was very small.  For clothing that is.  The left side had a bar which could hold hangers.  The right side had two drawers and some open storage.  When Shelley asked about it her mother explained that back in the olden days there weren’t any closets.  So, the wardrobe acted as a closet.  It is odd that the wardrobe could only hold like maybe 5 things.  But the chest of drawers could hold so much with those deep drawers.  Now modern society must rent storage units to house stuff because the closets and chest of drawers in their homes can’t hold it all.  Discuss amongst yourselves.

Shelley’s granddad decided to paint the bed, the chest of drawers and the wardrobe.  By the time Shelley was 10 and was in a new house she got the whole deal except for the vanity and mirror.  Somehow it didn’t get painted.  The only remant of that piece is the mirror and Shelley’s sister found it in the basement of her parents house a couple of decades later and decided to have it re-mirrored, or something like that.  Shelley’s sister now hangs it proudly in her master bedroom.

So, Shelley has the cannonball bed, the chest of drawers and the wardrobe, freshly painted a neutral  ivory color by her maternal grandfather.  She is 9 years old.

Back to the wardrobe.  It really was the vehicle that fueled her imagination.  She found that as hard as she tried she could never get past the back of the wardrobe.  Instead, it stayed firmly in tact and she remained a part of the world in which she had been born.  Secretly, Shelley thought, “dang it!”

But since necessity is the mother of all invention Shelley decided to invent games that started and ended with the wardrobe.  She did escape, mentally.  Never phsyically.  The hard parts of her existence stayed there but her imagination took her elsewhere.  It was an okay arrangement.

The wardrobe traveled on to another house.  Many years later it was inherited again.  Shelley decided that her daughter would have it.  An artist got hold of that piece of furniture and turned it into a masterpiece.  It became part of the nursery when her baby arrived.  Inscribed at the top of the piece are her daughter’s initials, “MJS” and birthdate.  Shelley officially tried to give it away.

However, due to space constraints,  it has wound up in Shelley’s laundry room.  Which makes sense.  Because she is forever trying to escape her present circumstances (and the laundry).  The wardrboe has remained quite present in Shelley’s grown up world.  She will let you know how that works out for her.

The Lion, The Witch, and Shelley's Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch, and Shelley's Wardrobe

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