After many years on MySpace, my account is closed.  I made no production about leaving, told no one, simply sat down at the computer and hit the “delete” key.  The time for my departure arrived after much thought and consideration.  It was a bittersweet decision and while I do miss my friends I made there, I know that closing the MySpace chapter is a good thing.

In 2005, MySpace was in full force.  Being that my address was not “Under a Rock, TN” I had heard of the site but had no desire to join in.  My days consisted of diapers, HTML and PHP coding and wedding plans.  Social networking was not on my radar.  While planning my New Year’s Eve wedding, I encountered a problem.  The hotel where I wanted to have my reception was booked by another couple.  It was on a popular wedding message board that I met Jenny, the bride who stole my Sheraton Hotel.  Anti-Bridezillas that we were, Jenny and I became instant friends comparing notes, styles, colors and party favors.  It was Jenny who invited me to MySpace to share photos.  Reluctantly, after her fifth request, I signed up.

The first year of my MySpace existence consisted of reconnecting with old friends and sharing pictures of the baby with my out of state family members.  In 2006, I discovered blogging.  All of my life I had been a closet writer, making up stories and keeping them locked away in notebooks for my own personal enjoyment.  Never had I thought about writing for other people until MySpace.  In the past 3 years I have posted hundreds of blogs for what became thousands of readers.  I was humbled by the fact that anyone would relate to my senseless ramblings. 

My reasons for leaving were very personal, confirmed by the fact that blogging on MySpace has become a joke over the past year.  I will still read my favorite bloggers through RSS, but I will miss our interactions, bantering, inside jokes and Peanut Cartoons.  I hope that my friends will find their way to Impacting Journey and drop a note to say “hello” from time to time. 

What’s next for eL.?  Well, I plan to go underground for a while and focus on doing what MySpace helped me to become passionate about… writing.  Maybe you’ll see me on Borders.com or NYTimes.com someday.  In the meantime, if you’re on MySpace and you see Jenny, give her this web address – I forgot to tell her I was leaving.  🙂

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In the paper this week was an article entitled “Southern Parents Spank Their Kids.” Really? THIS is news? Obviously these people haven’t been hanging around my house lately or this would never have made the front page of the paper. This is like a page four story around here. I am a firm believer in spanking. My kids RARELY EVER receive a spanking, but when they do it only has to happen once.

Tonight at the gym my Cirque Du Soliel-wannabe three year old decided to hide in a locker from his sister. He wanted to hide in the TOP locker about four feet off the ground. The conversation went something like this:

“Will, stop climbing on the lockers.” … “Will, get down right now.” … “WILL! How many times is Mommy supposed to ask you to do something?” … “Will, what happens when you disobey Mommy?”

He paused and looked back at me. “I get a spanking.” Like lightening, he was out of the locker and back on the floor.

A child in the dressing stall behind me gasped. Yeah, his mom was part of the 62% of Southerners too. That kid knew what a mommy-spanking meant.

Here’s my spanking disclaimer before someone gets their panties in a wad: Spankings and abuse should clearly be two different things. If that line ever gets fuzzy between an adult and a child then someone should intervene. Spankings should be rare and reserved for serious BEHAVIORAL offenses and never for accidents.

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On a lighter note… what about those moments when your children make it impossible to parent them? Here are a few real-life-of-eL. examples for your enjoyment.

I have the hardest time getting my son to eat at dinnertime. Bribery, threats, hours at the dinner table… nothing works. A few weeks ago I fixed spaghetti – a kid staple, right? The conversation with my son was the same. “Will, you may not get up from the table until you finish your dinner. If you don’t finish your dinner then you will have to go to bed.”

Forty five minutes later, I was folding laundry in the bedroom when my son entered the room. (Remember… HE’S THREE.) “Mom, I would rather go to bed AND have a spanking than have to eat my dinner.” I was dumbfounded. It was all I could do to not fall on the floor and laugh.

“Son, it’s spaghetti!”

He clamped his hand over his mouth. “I not wanna eat it.”

I dropped my head and pointed down the hall. “Go to bed.” By the time I caught up with him, he was in his bed with the light off and his blanket pulled over his head. Maybe I should take a cooking class?

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At our gym is a 50 gallon fish tank that my children are both fascinated with. Will can’t sit still to watch the fireworks show over the Magic Kingdom, but at that fish tank he will sit and stare for hours if I let him! Yesterday, while waiting for my Yoga class to begin, I let Will visit with the fish. He kept slapping his hands against the tank and yelling at the fish. “Will, stop doing that,” I told him.

“Why Mom?” he asked.

“Because you’ll scare the fish. Do you want to scare the fish?” I asked.

He pondered this for a moment and then looked up brightly. “Yes!” 

Do you believe in spanking?

Do I not have the funniest kid on the planet???


It was during the previews for The Dark Knight on iMax that I heard the familiar haunting tones of the Harry Potter theme song. I actually squealed out loud, only to be disappointed by the reality that this was no trailer, only a black screen stating “Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince – Coming November 21, 2008”. This teaser trailer was almost as anticlimactic as the release of the movie itself. Still reeling over the end of the Potter book series, fans all over the world counted down the days to that original release date.  And then with the wave of the executive Warner Brothers wand – for whatever reason- the movie was put on hold until July 2009. 

So… was it worth the hype?

Yes.

Was it my favorite Harry Potter movie?

No. That award still goes to movie 5, The Order of the Phoenix. I’m a die-hard Sirius Black fan… what can I say?

If you haven’t seen the movie…
This movie was obviously intended for people that have followed the story. There isn’t much back history, so if you haven’t seen the previous films or read the books, you’ll be a little lost. THBP bridges the gap between the rise of Lord Voldemort and his impending demise. So if you’re looking for a nice, neatly wrapped timeline with a series of events, a climax and a resolution, you will be disappointed with the movie. Now… stop reading this blog, leave a nice comment, and go find a date to see The Half Blood Prince.

-SPOILER ALERT-

What’s Missing
The biggest complaint that you will hear from Harry Potter fans is that the movies leave too much out of the original story. Well, isn’t that the case with all book-born movies? The films are never as good as the books. With Harry Potter, there isn’t really any choice but to make some major cuts and adaptations, otherwise each movie would be three weeks long! Some of the major elements left out of THBP include the meeting with the Prime Minister of England (not a monumental scene, but I was looking forward to it), Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour, the memories of Tom Riddle’s family history, the battle at Hogwarts, and Dumbledore’s funeral.  All in all, I think that the screen writers did a great job of condensing the story into a two and a half hour production.

What They Got Right
The cave scene made the whole movie. While the writers didn’t (in my opinion) give enough history as to why Voldemort chose to hide his horcrux locket in the cave, from a cinematic angle, it couldn’t have been better. It was exactly the way I’d pictured the scene as I read the book. The inferi, Voldemort’s reanimated corpse army, creeped me the hell out.

 As with all the films the casting is impeccable. I’ve hated Draco Malfoy since Harry’s first year at Hogwarts, but he may very well have been my favorite character in THBP. Tom Felton did an outstanding job at playing his part. Everyone in the theater felt the inner turmoil as Malfoy battled against living up to the standard of his evil father and desperately wanting to be an innocent child.  Halfway through the film I was ready to give Draco a hug.

   

Minor Disappointments
The whole movie was a bit choppy. It didn’t have the nice flow to it that the last two movies had. Granted, there was a LOT going on. As a true fan, I would’ve loved to have sat in the theater for another 5 hours while they explained every little detail and recreated every memory in the pensieve. While I realize that’s just not possible, I think the writers/directors did the best they could with what they had.

It did sort of come across as a little too “teeny-bopper-romance” for my taste. The relationships formed in THBP are, no doubt, important but I thought too much of the movies emphasis was placed on them. There were moments I wondered if I was actually watching “Hogwarts High School Non-Musical”. And on a side-note, the girl that played Lavender Brown drove me NUTS.

Overall, I LOVED THE MOVIE. I’m planning on seeing at least one more time, if not five, while it’s still in the theaters.  I have already begun the countdown to the release of The Deathly Hallows Part 1 on November 19th, 2010!

Have you seen the movie? What did you think???

 


My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy. It is for him and all of you other Muggles out there that I write this. (If you don’t know what a Muggle is, this blog is for you.)

My name is eL., and I am a Potter-holic. It has been fourteen hours since my last magical indulgence.

In 2005, I wasn’t so different from the rest of you. Harry Potter was a kid’s book. I’d watched the second movie with my nephew and was unimpressed. I scoffed and rolled my eyes at adults who had their noses stuck in the latest novel, The Half Blood Prince. Could it possibly be true that grown-ups were dressing up as wizards and witches and showing up at public events like a bunch of Trekkies with magic wands? BAHAHAHA!

And then I met a true Potter-Head.

My friend Tiffany showed up at work one day wearing a purple shirt with “9 & ¾” on it. I inquired about this odd choice of apparel and she rattled off something about a Hogwarts train. Upon noticing the clueless expression on my face, she gave me a horrified look that shouted “You’re not one of us!” The next day, I was greeted with Harry Potter books one and two on my desk with a note that said, “Get through these two and I’ll bring you the third one.”

Being that I didn’t have anything better to do at the time, I indulged her request and began my journey into Hogwarts. By the end of book three, The Prisoner of Azkaban, I was hooked.

Since 2005, I’ve read all of the books once (at least) and own all of the movies. The entire series is neatly arranged in hard back in a prominent place on my bookshelf and I frequently listen to them on audio while I run at the gym.  For the release of final book, The Deathly Hallows, I was among the goons standing in line at midnight at Barnes and Noble, wearing my “Trust Snape!” sticker as I waited to receive my pre-ordered copy of the book.  Many pots of coffee and sixteen hours later, I teared up as I closed the final chapter on Harry Potter.  Still, on a scale of one to ten in Potter Mania, I would say I’m only a seven. Tiffany is a ten… and some days maybe an eleven.

 

“Why?” You might ask. 
With one leap from the train station platform 9 & ¾, endless adventures and possibilities far away from the realities of parenting, jobs, divorce, widowhood and the failing economy exist. For those few days, I can sip the butterbeer, snack on Chocolate Frogs, wave my magic wand and make the real world be silent. 
I’m planning on writing my thoughts on The Half Blood prince movie. Until then maybe it’s time for you to unlock a new adventure.

“Alohomora!”
 
*Thank you friends for letting me steal your pictures!*

It will not come as a surprise to most of you who read my ramblings that I have a somewhat of an addictive personality. Well… I have a new addiction.

The WGBF (World’s Greatest Boyfriend) was in town this past weekend and he informed me that the terms for his visit included watching the UFC 100. While I wouldn’t voluntarily sign myself up to witness the brutal cage fights, there are worse things to be subjected to than bloody, sweaty men in boxer briefs. Can I get an amen?
When the evening began I was content with everything I needed: Asian Zing, Yuengling and a sexy fireman. I graciously filled the role of the patient girlfriend along for the ride to sit quietly while her man drank beer and yelled at the TV. By the end of the first match I was on the floor, shadowboxing with the flat panel and ducking under the coffee table any time someone’s skull was pounded against the cage. I wasn’t even conscious of my interactions until the WGBF grinned over at me and asked, “Honey, are you ok?”

 

I was hooked. I actually stayed up for four hours after the boyfriend passed out and watched the entire series of fights over again, even rewinding and slow-motioning through several parts. I’m not sure how he and the kids slept through all of my yelling.

Here are my thoughts about my favorite fights of the night. Keep in mind that I am a UFC over-opinionated newbie female.

Akiyama Vs. Belcher
Akiyama is a little Japanese dude that is apparently a BIG DEAL in his homeland not only in fighting, but also acting, music and modeling. I found it quite funny that the announcers actually referred to him by his nickname “Sexyama” and noted that he was “quite an attractive man.” (LOL) In the first round, Akiyama took a swift kick to the twins that crumpled him to the mat. I’m not a guy and I was in pain for him. He quickly recovered and was throwing roundhouse kicks that could embarrass Jackie Chan. I was impressed. To everyone’s surprise, Sexyama was named the winner. Personally, I agree with the rest of the world that Belcher was robbed of the victory. Maybe the judges were giving out sympathy points for groin kicks… I don’t really know.

St. Pierre Vs. Alves
All I can really say about this match is that Georges St. Pierre pulled his groin half way through this match and still won standing up. And he had very nice red shorts… *ahem*

Henderson Vs. Bisping
This was the fight that sold me on UFC. It was like watching a bloody soap opera. Michael Bisping is a mouthy, trash-talking, ADHD fighter who is apparently like the Michael Jordan of MMA in England. Listening to him talk reminded me of Brad Pitt’s character in Snatch… you couldn’t freakin’ understand him without the subtitles! Bisping has gone on and on for months about how he was going to knock out America’s two-time Olympian, Dan Henderson. Henderson has seemed to just take the trash-talking in stride simply saying, “I’ll use my fist to shut his mouth.” Well, he did. In round two Henderson cold-clocked Bisping sending him to the mat in oblivion. Then, for good measure, he nailed him once more while he was unconscious. It took Bisping about 3 minutes to regain consciousness. When he woke up he kept asking over and over, “What happened?” I couldn’t help but think of Chris Tucker in Friday… “You got knocked the #*@& out!”

The big story of the night was the heavyweight fight between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir. Basically Brock Lesnar is an angry, self-obsessed tank that just parked on top of Frank Mir and bashed his face in until the referee was forced to end the fight. That was no fun to watch. If size hadn’t been a factor and Lesnar hadn’t fought like the fat kid sitting on the band geek in order to win, I think Frank Mir would’ve slaughtered him. And geez… could Lesnar be any more of a douche? He flipped off the fans. Who does that?

Well… now I think I’ve blogged about everything under the sun. While ESPN may never hire me for commentary, I might have to make a regular occurrence of the “eL.’s UFC Wrap Up”. Who knows… maybe I can attract some more female fans. After all, any good woman worth her thongs can appreciate this:


willIsn’t life supposed to calm down after you retire?  I am now in week two of my “retirement” and if anything, I seem to have less time than when I was logging forty hours a week in my office.  How is that possible?  In the past fourteen days I have visited five states, caught up with umpteen family members, read a book, slacked off at the gym, watched about twenty movies, WORKED, and maintained a sparkling clean home.  OK… the last part is a bit of stretch, but at the moment it is sparkling clean!

I always used to think I’d go crazy being bored at home as a full time mom.  I realize now what a vacation my JOB really was!  I take my fictitious hat off to all you stay at home parents out there.  You certainly don’t get enough credit.

I have enjoyed the constant company of my kids far more than I could’ve ever imagined.  You really should just be jealous because I simply have the funniest, cutest and smartest children ever conceived.  They teach me so much about life and about the person I want to be.  The lessons learned through the experience of children are absolutely priceless.  There is no university that compares with parenthood.

Patience is a CHOICE.  It is far easier to laugh and get over it, than it is to get upset.

No one snuggles better than a three year old.

If you want to know honestly how you are doing life, ask a preschooler their opinion of you.

You know to pass up your Food Network dream when your kid opts for a spanking and early bedtime rather than eat.

You should always keep your toenails short, even if it means biting them.  You might trip over them if you don’t. 

I’m sure there will be many more lessons to come… stay tuned.  This could get interesting.


My life has been full. At only 28, I’ve been fortunate to have enough good memories to be twice my age. Trying to narrow down all of my adventures to my favorite summer is nearly impossible. There are so many great ones to choose from!

Every summer when I was a kid, my parents would load up the family and head to the beach with our fifth wheel RV. I am convinced that the world would be a better place if everyone had childhood memories at a family campground. A five-star, all inclusive resort could not contend with the KOA experience as a nine year old. The days were filled with new best friends, biking adventures, hours floating on the waves with my red and blue raft, hotdogs and s’mores over a campfire, and miles beachcombing for seashells with my mother. When storms came we would play endless games of Chinese Checkers and count water tornados that formed out at sea. Twenty years later, I can still smell the sea and hear the waves crashing against the shore.

When I was older and had abandoned summers spent under parental guidance, my friends and I would pile into the old faithful VW bus and head to New Orleans. Jazz Fest was everyone’s favorite. While many of our activities in The Big Easy are not appropriate for this blog, those trips were (mostly) unforgettable. Thoughts of climbing trees in City Park, the Steve Miller Band and Widespread Panic, sleepless nights on Bourbon Street, and bars at seven AM still make me smile. (And cringe just a little bit.)

…yep, that’s me.

When I grew up and moved to Tennessee, I was a wife and mother before anyone introduced me to the joys of the lake. I’d never been on a boat, other than a canoe on a glorified pond, in my life. My in-laws gave me my first boating experience at Center Hill Lake. All day, every day, was spent on the water drinking beer, riding at high speeds on inner tubes, and “jug fishing”. We slept under the stars and woke up damp with dew to Bloody Marys and smoked sausages. While during that summer I did make at least one trip to the hospital and received enough sun damage to ensure skin cancer in my future, I can’t help but think of the lake whenever I contemplate my “best of summer” experiences.


Still none of these can be titled “My Favorite Summer”.

While it’s fun to glance in the rear view mirror from time to time, I’m focused on keeping my eyes on the road ahead. Maybe this year will be my favorite summer. Maybe I’ll steal an RV and head to the beach with my kids. Maybe we’ll bake in the sun on a pontoon with the Redneck Yacht Club. Maybe I’ll introduce them to Bourbon Street…

Urrmmm…
Maybe not.

What is your favorite summer memory????