Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I never KNEW a Dodge Neon could FLY!

Good morning! The tale I am about to tell you is true, and not fabricated in any way, nor shall I embellish the truth to make it sound crazier that in really was. Oh yes! Leave it to me to perform the craziest stunt possible and walk away from it alive! My friends would agree that I can never do anything the easy way. For example, my friends will tell you, "Patti would never have a simple fender bender, it is simply not her style"! And I would have to agree. So, in reflecting upon my craziest most outrageous activity for this year, hands down I would have to give it up for... "The Day My Dodge Neon Took Flight".

Now you may be picturing the Magical Flying Car from Harry Potter, or maybe even the Antiquated, Flying car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Oh no! My Dodge Neon's flight through the air would better be described as a car stunt from the movie the Dukes of Hazard or Dirty Harry. Yes, it was wild, it was outrageous, it was unparalleled, and to quote an off duty police officer who just happened to be following me when this was all going down, his comment: "THAT WAS AMAZING".

Thursday, October 29th started out as a typical CRAZY day. I was running late, and as usual. I was wiping coffee off of my clothes, grabbing what I needed for school, searching for my keys, but at last, whew, I was in the car, starting the engine when I remembered... NO GAS! I was already late as I have told you, but I knew the fumes left in the car would not get me to my destination which is approximately 20 miles from my house. SO, gas station stop, and I am now wiping gasoline off my clothes! Back in the car, I was feeling the adrenaline, and I knew Evil Knievel had nothing on me that morning! I got on the interstate, noting that the roads were a little slick, but still continued along at a Nascar drivers pace as I hurried to be on time.

Now there is a well know curve in Pensacola that takes you from I-110 which I was driving on, and dumps you onto interstate 110 going west toward Mobile. Oh this curve is deceptive, sly and sneaky as you start down it's slippery slope. It is deceptive because is starts out shallow and then makes a sharp lurch to the left, at which point there is no guardrail to keep you from leaving the safety of the interstate, and in my case this was probably a good thing! I was still driving taking this curve at a pretty quick pace, maybe not so nascar'ish' as I know the treachery of this curve, but with a fast pace, a slick road, and a fierce determination to be at work on time, my car chose that moment to go into a little hydroplane!

I am sure you have all been there at one time or another and your husbands words of 'DO NOT SLAM ON THE BRAKES" resonated loudly in your head as it did in mine- NOT SO MUCH! I panicked and I slammed the brake pedal to the floor, and could not figure out why my car started to swerve even more toward the hill lined with those lovely little pine trees. SO, SURELY, slamming the brakes one more time would help, alas NO DICE! My car decided to commune with nature that day, as it left the interstate and somehow propelled itself, according to the off duty police officer, 'AS HIGH AS A HOUSE-MAN!" into the forest of trees!

During my actual experience I remember nothing, but thank goodness my eyewitness, my now new found, and dumb founded off duty police officer friend, was able to fill me in after the fact. I simply remember landing nose down in a ditch, and I couldn't see because my glasses were gone (probably hanging from a tree limb after flying out the now glass deprived back window)! I was FINE, I was ALIVE, and then, I KNEW.... a dreaded phone call was ahead of me, and I lost it. Oh yes, the tears started falling, and santa's bowl full of jelly had nothing on my shaking. As I picked up my cell which was miraculously laying next to me, I dialed the number, the number of all numbers, and I spit the glass from the windshield out of my mouth as I waited for an answer.... And he picked up, "Greg Easton", and all could think to say was, "I THINK I have just been in a very bad car wreck." Luckily by this time my new found friend, Mr. off duty police officer who was still going on about the miracle of my flight, took the phone from my hand, and told Greg to hurry over, that I was lucky to be alive! I got out of the car with one small cut on my leg, a bump on my forehead which later developed into a horn of interesting proportions, and a hair and body full of glass. Yes, I was now living my finest moment! HA! But then I started thinking....

Actually this was one of my finest moments and here is why... That morning, after I had pumped gas, for some reason I had put my seat belt on. Now to all of you normal people out there saying, "and your point is?" I NEVER used to wear a seat belt- my best of friends KNOW this to be a fact! It was too confining and restraining. It left me unable to flail my hands at drivers who were irritating me, or made it impossible to apply lipstick in a very precise fashion. This morning however, unconsciously I put my seat belt on and began my journey. My journey that launched the Neon into unparalleled glory of which no other man has seen the likes of except for my off duty police officer buddy and a few disbelieving fellow travelers.

So, my angels were with me that morning, making sure I buckled my seat belt, surrounding my car as it 'flew through the air with the greatest of ease'! My angels were around me as the car rolled end over end before landing in a downward and upright position! WOW! I was still alive, I was walking, I was talking coherently, well to some that may have been debatable, but I was ALIVE! CRAZY!

Once I got home, I assessed my bodily injuries, which turned to out to be minimal.... the cut leg, the horn on my head, a very bruised shoulder (I had no idea bruises could turn into all the colors of the rainbow) a bruised top of my head from where the roof crashed in on it, and I watched in disbelief as mountains of glass fell out of my hair, my clothes, and my mouth as I was STILL spitting it out!

Once I assessed my bodily injury, which was AMAZINGLY minimal, I sat and, as I always do, thought to myself, "Self, What have you learned from this CRAZY MOMENT in your life? I came away with several invaluable lessons. First, I would never again drive without a seat belt! I hear your chorus of AMENS out there! Second, I would strive to have myself organized in the morning so that I could drive in a less stressed fashion. Third, I would NOT SLAM ON MY BRAKES when hydroplaning. But, by far, the most important lesson, I realized God was not done with me yet! He still had a plan and a purpose left for me. There was still time to love my family and friends, time to meet and make new friends, time to perfect and share my gifts and talents, time, time TIME! I still had time, and since that life changing day, October 29th, 2010, I have chosen to live my life with an attitude of gratitude. I am so thankful for each and every day, and what that day brings me. I am simply CRAZY about my family and my friends, and I am passionate about showing them and telling them exactly how much I love and appreciate them. I have started reacquainting myself with crafts and hobbies I had let fall by the wayside, and I have started writing again. Something I love and enjoy, and do to be a blessing and encouragement to others.

So this, was the CRAZIEST moment in my life for the year 2011. But, I would not change a thing! I have learned from this lesson. And to end this tale of my "FANCIFUL FLIGHT" I will say to you, never take your life, your day, your family (including you furry family members), your friends or your gifts and talents for granted. Always strive to live each day to the fullest, laughing all the way. Always be thankful that you do have someone looking out for you, even when you are not aware of it, and realize YOU are here for a REASON and a PURPOSE.

I am thankful for you my friends. I love you, and look forward to the times that we will share, living, laughing and loving our way through this CRAZY JOURNEY called life!

And a little p.s. to this story. While attending a Christmas party a few nights back, a friend who knew about the accident asked me, "Are those YOUR skid marks on the curve?" And with a laugh I looked at him and said,"YEAH! they are, and aren't you glad I am here!"

Monday, December 27, 2010

Crazy People!

Crazy People... the world is full of them! Now when I say crazy people, I am not referring to my brand of 'crazy' which means laughing at my mistakes, having the strong desire to make other people laugh, or finding humor in the silliest of situations. I am talking about people who are "FULL, BLOWN OUT, CRAZY!"

I am often very naive and accepting when it comes to making new friends, and I guess some people would say 'THAT IS CRAZY'! But I love people, and I always attempt to look for the good in people. Somewhere along the line though, I missed being blessed with the 'NUTTER' radar. You know, that radar that is supposed to go off when you meet someone who has that Jeckyll/ Hyde personality! Oh my, if I could purchase a 'SPOT A NUT JOB' radar somewhere I would buy it!

Have any of you met a person on Facebook that you just seemingly 'click' with. Well, I found a person JUST like that on our local Facebook news site, and we became Facebook friends! Oh, she was nice, fun, intelligent, seemingly having the same values as I, the same positive, humorous, fun outlook on life that I have! Did I mention that I met her on 'Facebook'? Well, the friendly posts turned into friendly inboxes, which turned into a friendly first meeting, which turned into a few friendlier get togethers, which then turned into an 'exorcist, head spinning, foaming at the mouth like, chaotic drama! I had NO clue that one person could fabricate, insinuate or create such DRAMA in one's life. AND I could not believe that I had allowed myself to be sucked into the mouth of well, a DRAMA of MASS DESTRUCTION. Oh, I stepped in to console and conjole, and 'be the friend' that one should be when these dramas creep up. I gave advice, prayed for her, sent cards, yes I even left numerous texts and voice mails, because for some reason my friend did not like 'talking on the phone'! Maybe that should have been my first clue?

As usual, when life hands me one of these learning lessons, a 'crazy lemon', I look at if from every angle to decide: what can I do differently next time? And here is the conclusion I have come to. First of all, you don't have to accept every friend request that someone sends you on facebook! WOW! What was a brilliant, Oprah, 'a-ha' moment that was for me! Secondly, the truest friends you will meet are those whom you meet in PERSON. You may meet them in a place of common interest, or in a gathering of common friends, a place of worship, or a club of shared hobbies. Not on a facebook site! And thirdly, if a person can only communicate via texting and facebook... there may be an issue. Now there are some exceptions to that rule, I have found, but they are very few and far between! (those of you that are the exception to the rule know who you are- xoxo)

So as I sit and ponder my 'true friends', I can honestly say, that I am blessed with many. And to those who have given new meaning to the phrase 'You are one card short of a full deck', I say hasta la vista baby! Life is too short to live your drama! The phrase, "save your drama for yo' mama" has taken on a whole new meaning.

This has been a hard lesson to learn, but I can sit and laugh now, from my 'drama' free zone. The long and short of this lesson; Pray for guidance when seeking new friends. Pray that you will be equipped with a 'lunatic radar' (I have found that the 'Hershey Kiss Tin Foil Hats' that the actors wore in the movies "SIGNS" work fabulously at deftlecting the crazies!). Look for the 'glaring' psycho' signals that are amazingly obvious to most, but may slip by you if you believe there is truly massive amounts of goodness in all mankind. Don't be afraid to ask your 'true' friends to look out for you, and to warn you, lest you slip though the cracks of someone else's duplicitous drama! Beware of the 'crazies' my friends, for they ARE out there, and they DO have plans to rob you of your joy, your time, your passion, and your happiness! BUT with prayer and counsel from true friends you can avoid the pits that I have blindly fallen into. In all seriousness, the most important lesson I have learned is as follows: you become like the people you choose to surround yourself with. I don't know about you but I choose to surround myself with people who love life, and who are living their lives joyfully, honestly and to the fullest. That is what I want for my life, so from now on that is what I seek for as I choose my friends! Luckily I have moved on without any damage, but with a much wiser outlook on the meaning of a 'true friend'. To my true friends, I love laughing with you and sharing your joys and good times as well as bad times. To those wearing a drama queen tiara... I am sorry there is too much life left for me to live and too much fun left to be had!

Living laughing and loving from a drama free zone!

My NOT so Crazy Christmas!

I woke up to a chilly Christmas morning, It was is so easy to remember in the not too distant past, 2 little sets of feet running to say, "SANTA WAS HERE! LET'S GET UP"! Well on THIS Christmas morning, with 2 much older children still asleep in their beds, I was the one excitedly waiting for THEM to 'nonchalantly' drag themselves up and say... time to get up? But there IS a secret...

Christmas Eve night, as I sat wrapping the 'two hooligans' gifts, I could hear a noise from upstairs. It was the above named 'hooligans', now 18 and 20 as they were sitting in Wes's room talking and laughing... not punching and screaming, but actually getting along, and it hit me: THEY WERE EXCITED ABOUT CHRISTMAS!

As I sat in bed, on Christmas morning, in peace and silence and serenity, I was mentally shouting, "SANTA WAS HERE KIDS! GET UP!" I am realizing, that while times have changed, the joy of Christmas will never change. We may just express our feelings and attitudes a little differently as we age and experience life and its changes.

As it turned out, the day was peaceful, magical and different in a CRAZY sort of way that I never expected. The Easton household set a new record as it took us over an hour to open up the gifts we had purchased! We enjoyed just sitting, talking and reminiscing about Christmases past. It was a day when my heart actually embraced and rejoiced in the changes. It was a day when I said to myself, I am getting older, my kids are growing up, and I am just fine with that today.

Now I sit here with another week of vacation ahead of me! Plans? Oh my yes! Plans for relaxation, crafting, family, friends. And, I am spending time reflecting on this past year of craziness; a year of lessons learned, victories achieved, and personal growth in abundance. I embrace the New Year coming, in the way I always do, with excitement and a twinkle in my eye, knowing that there are MANY crazy and fun adventures ahead. I can hardly wait! My newest, craziest, most exciting thing planned? Changing my diet and fitness habits. I don't plan on eating like a rabbit and running to the gym every day, but I plan on trying a Vegan diet, thanks to wisdom and encouragement from my Vegan guru and wild and crazy friend Gwen! I plan on taking walks around my lovely neighborhood, and working up a sweat as I enjoy the scenery of the bay which surrounds me and magnolia lined neighborhood in which I live. And I plan on spending time each day reflecting on my blessings and thanking God for using my 'crazy' life to help others realize how truly sane they are! ; ) Or at least bring a smile to someone who may actually read my silliness.

Last night, I took a little Facebook quiz! "What will 2011 bring for you?" I laughed with pure joy and happiness as I read the following prediction: "Patti got HAPPINESS!! 2011 will be a very happy year for you,and you will have many laughs and good times!" I expect nothing else! NOTHING LESS! As I am often heard saying "I have a mental party going on at all times!"

I pray that each one of you, experienced your own Christmas magic and love with your families this year, and I pray that as you look ahead, you will find a year full of blessings, fun, joy, much laughter and and good times. God's blessings to you.

With love and laughter,


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Technology is Insane! But I love it!

Yesterday was proof to me that our teenagers live in crazy technological world.  While playing on Facebook, I began to receive Instant Messages from my daughter who was sitting just across the room from me.  We each laughed as we heard the 'ding' of a  message being received.  We 'chatted' about our plans for the weekend, about the Christmas Tree Lighting she had just attended with friends, about the cute boy she had just met! In the craziness of that moment, I felt the need for her to see the words... "I LOVE YOU".  I felt such incredible warmth in my heart as I received a return message, "Mom I love you SOOOO much"! We shut down our computers, hugged, and laughed about the fact that we had just shared a 'new age technolgical' moment.  I am blessed that we still share the old fashioned ability to talk face to face too, but this kind of communication was a first and I sit here laughing as I type.

Last night, I became a tad bit upset at a modern day teenage fad called texting, as my son's cell phone went off at 1:15 in the morning, waking me out of a dead sleep.  Amused by technology at 1:15?   I think not.  BUT, then I started to think,  I have my son just down the hall,  I know he is safe and sound,  and I was overwhelmed with that 'crazy' love feeling for my firstborn.  He left for work early this morning , but you can bet your bottom dollar, when he walks in that door, I will thank him for the nightly interruption which reminded me of how much I love him, and how grateful I am to have him in my life.

Texting, about $7.99 a month.  Internet rate, about $50.00 a month.  My son and my daughter, and the capability to talk and share whether by phone, text, computer or face to face, PRICELESS!