My New Year Plan – To Enjoy

This week’s spin cycle, brought to us by the ever engaging and evolving Sprite’s Keeper is about New Year’s Resolutions. From some darn reason, I can’t hardly bring myself to do this one, y’all.  The whole idea of having to “resolve” to do something is way too final.

I think it’s because Southern women kinda shy away from resolutions. It sounds so formal and churchy, as in, “The Southern Baptists have formally voted to adopt a new resolution.” It reminds me of a formal, sit-down dinner. You know the kind, where you send out invitations that say “RSVP” on the bottom in fancy gold letters, and you have to get out your great grandma’s silverware and polish it up? I envision starchy tablecloths, linen napkins and awkward silences, or somebody finding a piece of old food stuck to the back of a salad bowl. Shudder.

I’d prefer something alot more casual. As in, “Y’all come on over for supper, we’re havin’ homemade vegetable soup and cornbread with sweet ice tea.”

And well, sure, we Southern gals sometimes “resolve” to think about it tomorrow, if it’s really wearin’ on our nerves, but any Southern woman worth her weight in fat back will tell you – we are much better at making a PLAN. Now, a PLAN is something I can get all a-twitter about. A PLAN requires a list. And being a true southern gal from “North Cackalaky”, there ain’t  nothin’ I love better that writing (actually, revising, ’cause I always have one)  my good ole ‘”To Do” list. It’s second only to shoppin’ for new shoes, y’all.

In thinking about stuff I’d like to do this year, I’m ever conscious of the loss of my grandmother this past October. I have a fresh understanding of how short life really is, and I feel like we need to enjoy it as much as we possibly can, while we still can.

So, in the interest of promoting All Things Southern, and keeping my goal of enjoyin life more, I give you my 2009 “To Do” list:

1. First and foremost, have more frequent sex. We might as well use it before we lose it! (Hey, even the preachers are advocating this one.)

2.Enjoy the little things that I never give myself time to do. Bubble baths. Hot chocolate. Reading books. Listening to music. Painting. Lighting candles. Watching the sun set. Walking on Wrightsville Bdcp_09801each.

3. Make a memories DVD of the pictures we took LAST summer. I enjoy torturing my family by making them sit down and look at our pictures.

4. Finish scanning all of my grandmother’s old family photos, so I can make  DVDs to send to all of her family, and  type all of her poems, so they are saved in my computer. And then, make poetry DVDs to send to the family. My grandmother had alot of profound things to say, and I’m on a mission to share her words and stories.

5. Start another blog, about my grandmother’s life, with the old scanned pictures and poems. I already enjoy posting her poems, and I want to put them all out there.

6. Finally getting around to setting up my grandmother’s sewing machine, that I’ve had for 2 years and mending some clothes that probably don’t even fit anymore.

7. Help my youngest son move into his new apartment, where he’s going to college, and clean out and re-paint his old room and get new furniture for it. Then we can have friends over for the weekends, another thing I enjoy.

8. Try and get over my phone phobia, by planning to make more phone calls. That will allow me to do something else I enjoy – share a laugh with friends.

9. Plan a vacation. (There. A sentence with two of the most heavenly words in existence…PLAN and VACATION.)

10. Lose 15 pounds. I realize this is on everyone else’s list. I don’t want to stop enjoying cooking, or dinners, or eating out and especially I don’t intend to give up my cocktails. I’d just like to enjoy shopping for clothes again. I might have to join that HASAY thingy.

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Southern Women Don’t Get Mad

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I was supposed to write a post about anger management for last week’s Spin-Cycle topic, which is brought to us by Sprite’s Keeper. Last week, y’all.

But, every time I thought about it, it just didn’t feel right. There was something about admitting that something made me mad, that didn’t sit quite right with me. After I week of pondering over this, I figured it out. Southern women just don’t get mad, y’all.

Now, look-ey here. I was raised by a Baptist Southern Belle, who was raised by a Southern Belle who had a Pentecostal Southern Gentleman father. Our extended family included a whole passle of other kinds of Southern Bells. Down here in Cape Fear Country, we even have a Festival, called the Azalea Festival, to honor the beautiful azaleas and the cute lil Southern Belles. In other words, I didn’t stand a chance of being any kind of normal.

A true Southern woman is obliged, by virtue of her birthright, to always smile, be polite and smooth over problems with good manners and a glass of sweet tea. No matter how upset, riled up, or irked we get, we just don’t ever admit to being angry. We can be, under circumstances of high provocation, “ill” or “aggravated” or “upset”. But really, anger is not lady like and it’s not fitting of the image that a Southern woman strives for: all that-there grace and beauty.

My grandmother is the ultimate Southern matriarch. The only girl in a family of six boys, she was taught to drive a car, fire a gun and cook up a mean bunch of collards. She is a steel magnolia inside a velvet glove. I’ve seen her get so “riled up” that she drove right past the speed limit to get to a woman’s house to very politely, and sweetly, refuse a gift from someone that was acting “messy”. It might have even been, in her mind, “a Big Mess”. She may have raised her voice just a tichy. She might have slammed her car door as she left. But she definitely was not mad.

My mother, a prim and proper Southern gal with a peaches and cream complexion, always preached to me that “pretty is as pretty does.” Everything in her life is “Little”. She wears a “little” sweater with her “cute, little skirt” and she has “little parties” where she goes to dance “a little”. She never gets mad, she just gets a “little upset”. I think she has the image of the Little Baby Jesus permanently stuck in her head. Anyway, she was so upset one time that she threw a right proper hissy fit. This “fit” included jumping up and down in place, while screaming, “YOU’RE BEING UGLY TO ME!”

But to this day, she will not admit to being mad. Nope, she was just a little upset because I wasn’t acting nice. I was being “ugly”. It got real messy. In other words, I dared to disagree with her.

When I think about it, it kinda makes sense. After all, what with Jesus hangin’ on the cross and all that Amazing Grace and us meetin’ at the River (the beautiful, beautiful River, so it had to be in the South) that we absorbed into out Southern spirits – it DOES seem kinda rude to be gettin’ all hot and bothered at each other over silly stuff, y’all. And I’m pretty sure there is a special place reserved in the Lake of Fire for Mad Women, along with all those cheaters, liars and other types of rude folks.

So, when my momma had her hissy fit and jumped up and down in the floor, accusing me of “bein’ ugly to her,” I got even uglier and got in my car and left. I slammed my car door real hard and I drove right past the speed limit that day. But I wasn’t mad, y’all. I was just all riled up.

All this is Okey dokey until you try and be married to a damn Yankee. Then things can get a lil complicated, ya’ll. He’ll say something really tacky that gets me all upset. I guess I get kinda angry pouty. He’ll say, “Are you mad at me?”

“No,” I say (with tone), “Of course I’m not mad!” (Well, duh, y’all. I DON’T get mad!!)

“Well,” he says dryly. “You sound mad.”

Now I’m IRKED. “I’m NOT MAD, I’m just a lil ill.”

“Ill?” he asks, perplexed. “Are you sick or something?”

“No.” Heavy sigh. “I’m not sick, I’m just ill. Aggravated. I’m UPSET.”

“Oh,” he says. “Then you ARE mad.”

“I’M NOT MAD!! YOU’RE JUST JUST TREATING ME UGLY!!” I wail. Why can’t he get it through his thick, yankee head that I’m NOT MAD???!!!!

And of course, if a Southern woman ever got PISSED OFF…..well, I shudder to even THINK about that. Lightning would most likely strike her, ya’ll.