Badasses & Birthday Celebrations

I still remember the day my mother-in-law looked across the front seat of her car at me and uttered words that made me blink. Granted, I was only dating her son then, but still, her opinion of me mattered.

“You’re a stubborn person”

I wanted to put my hand to my chest and say, “Moi?” Instead, I found myself blinking owlishly at her, wondering where our conversation was about to go. She must have sensed my unease because she looked over at me, let out a light laugh and patted my leg.

“That’s not necessarily a bad thing, you know…”

I bit my lip and wondered if I should respond. Curiosity won out. “What makes you say that?”

“I’m well aware your family doesn’t exactly approve of your relationship. Most people find it easier to break up and start over…to try to find someone they would approve of, but not you. You know who and what you want and you won’t let anyone dictate who you do or don’t date. Not even your family. Considering how close you guys are, that’s saying something.” She shrugged. “See? Stubborn.”

That conversation has always stood out in my mind because I’ve always felt it was a trait we shared. She’s one of the most loving, accepting people I know…and a lot to live up to. This wonderful woman was riding horses and teaching aerobics classes in the fellowship room of her church into her 60’s. She’s been completely supportive and accepting of me… in fact, while we lived in Chicago, Saturday nights and Tuesday nights became our hang out time. Saturday evening was dinner with the ‘rents, followed by Mom and me watching The Pretender and Profiler together. Tuesday nights were reserved for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed. Hubby would either be watching college football or playing Warcraft or Diablo or sometimes he’d join us. I think he got a kick out of how close we’d become, but acceptance seemed to be a family theme…at least with me.

Hubby's (right before her 80th birthday)

Hubby’s mom…zip-lining (right before her 80th birthday)


There are times I miss those days… Miss not living close enough where we can just jump into a car and go. This weekend has been one of those times. She’s an awesome woman with a great spirit… A sense of joy in life and adventure that she shares with her son….whose birthday is only 1 day before hers. Yes, my husband was her birthday gift to herself….well, with the help of her husband. 😉

This weekend was their birthdays….but hers was a landmark. That daring woman zip-lining in that picture above? Well, she did that a couple months before her 80th…which she celebrated yesterday.

Hubby asked me to write a poem on his behalf…honoring her…and I did my best to do it justice. No, I’m not sharing it here…it was solely for her. But, I wanted to share HER with you guys… She’s the badass I strive to become as I get older! And she gave me an awesome man (who IS accepted and loved by my family, by the way… it just took my mom time). I guess that stubbornness she accused me of paid off! 🙂

So, happy birthday to them both…with a wish for many more. (Yeah, I know…birthdays and anniversaries galore for me in September.)

Hubby & me at Trump Tower in Chicago

Hubby & me at Trump Tower in Chicago


Confession Of A SongPOP Addict

I was 14 the first time I tasted alcohol. It was Seagram’s Wildberry wine coolers. That night, I hung out with my cousins, played board games and generally had a good time. No, I did not get drunk. In fact, it’s been over 20 years since that day, and I still haven’t gotten drunk. In fact, I’ve only gotten mildly buzzed 3 or 4 times. One could even go so far as to say I have control issues which prohibit me from taking that extra drink or two required to induce drunkenness.

If I had concerns about control loss with alcohol, I’m sure you’ve already figured out that I’ve never tried drugs. I’ve never judged my friends or family who have, I just wasn’t ever going to be that girl.

Cigarettes were a little bit different. I was 18 years old & cruising around town on a Friday night with one of my gal pals when she pulled into the station. As she stepped out of the car to pump gas, she asked me to hold her cigarette. As an adult with a few years behind me, I look back and think “how dangerous!”. But back then I remember studying her cigarette and thinking that they took forever to burn. Curious to see if I could finish one, I asked her if I could have one. By the end of the night I had smoked half a pack by myself. I became an occasional smoker after that…smoking socially. A couple years later, though, I noticed that getting up four flights of stairs had me huffing and puffing, so I quit. Cold turkey. I obviously wasn’t addicted or I would’ve had some sort of withdrawal. Never did.

As for video games? Not really my bag. I never got hooked on them. In fact, the action ones would stress me out! Hubby, on the other hand, loves video games. He could sit and play for hours.

I enjoy social networking. So, as inevitably happens, I was invited to play FarmVille, Cafe World, etc. and for a time, I’d enjoy them. Back when I was working a high pressure job, the pure mindlessness of the blind clicking of animals and plants to gather prizes and grow things was soothing…but eventually, that, too would bore me and I’d stop playing.

But one day, with a single invitation, everything changed. I’m still not sure who sent me the initial invitation, but I bless and curse them daily.


When my iPad screen lights up with this logo, I wait with bated breath to see who has challenged me to a game of speed, memory and wits. I quiver with excitement wondering if I will be faster than my opponent this round and if the category my challenger chose is one that I am strong in. Will I be able to guess all five songs in a timely manner? Can I best my last score? And if no one has thrown down a gauntlet, I go back and nudge my opponents to ensure they play at their next available moment.

For those of you unfamiliar, I will explain. Do you remember the game “Name That Tune”? SongPOP is like that game, except that they have the music options in categories. For example, my biggest strengths lie in categories like Glee, love songs, 80’s music, Crooners and Musicals.
My weaknesses are in Rap (old school and new school) and Disco.

If you are smart, you focus on your strengths and learn your opponents weaknesses. When it’s your turn to select a category, pick strategically. And if they select a category you are weak in, follow their responses when you are unsure of what to select. While the music is playing, take in the words as well as the artist’s voice. These, too, can be clues to help you win.

Every morning, when I get up, this is one of the first things I check for. At night, before I sleep, this is one of the last things I do. And throughout the day….yeah, you’ve got it.


So, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes couldn’t get me hooked, but one game and I’m a goner. Am I the only one? What are you hooked on?