Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How Do You Do?

Its that time of year again, when our church sees an big influx of new people, most coming here for school. I always look forward to new people moving here, but when it actually is upon me, I get a strange anxiety about it. My biggest problem is that I want people to become my best bud right away, but I just don't function that way. Friendships take a long time to develop for me. For one thing, I am really, really bad at new people conversations, like major-awkward-pauses bad. It takes me a long time to completely be myself around people, because my humor is just a bit off from the norm. I have to make sure the person whom I am talking to won't report me to authorities for being an idiot. And when people don't become my friend right away, I start to suffer from really silly insecurities, like the feeling that I am left out, or feeling like someone thinks I'm obnoxious, or a snob. It takes a lot for me to admit that out loud, because I like to pretend that I don't let myself be bogged down by inconsequential and high-schoolish feelings like that. But really, inside I do. And then I have to remind myself that friendships take time to grow and the ones worth having will happen naturally, with a little effort on both parts.

I have read novels where young women are sent off to finishing school where they learned the art of ballroom dance, french, and conversational skills. I think I could have used a conversational skills class when I was young. I have had to wing it through the years and this is what I have come up with. If you suffer from the same pressure of speech that I do, maybe this can help you out.

Brooklet Presents:
How to Converse Without Sounding Completely Like an Awkward Idiot:
When conversing with the opposite sex, I found that a skill I learned in a crisis counseling training course comes in really handy. It's called reflective listening. Basically, you just restate what the person just told you to encourage them to keep talking. For instance, Cody comes home and says, "Uh, I just had a tough day at school." Then I, in all my reflective listening glory, respond, "So you had a tough day at school?" Then Cody, proceeds to divulge his very bad day at school in detail, all the while I just keep repeating what he says. C: "A patient threw up all over me." B: "A patient threw up all over you!" See. How could that not be a killer conversation? Already, I can feel your conversation skills improving.
Girls are even easier (because as easy as that last skill sounded, it gets tough trying to come up with interesting and varying ways to parrot). Most girls like to talk about anything, particularly themselves. Take me for instance. I love talking about myself, hence I have a blog. But if by chance you are having a hard time coming up with something to say, try the following topics; they are always sure fire:
*Labor and Delivery, *Boobs , *Nursing, *Boobs after nursing, and *How not thin we think we are
Works every time!
Now kids, well kids are the easiest. I learned a lot after spending some serious time with my nieces and nephews this month. They will laugh at anything that has to do with poop or pee. No joke. In fact, it doesn't have to be a joke for them to laugh at it. I heard, for about 30 minutes straight, the kids repeating "C-L-A-I-R-Chicken poop" and laughing horrifically each time. It didn't get old to them. Kids are such mindless wonders. (though it should be noted, that grown up men also think anything with poop or pee mentioned is also hilarious).
This should be a good starting point for most of you. Though I should caution you that there is this phenomenon called the seven minute lull. Have you heard of it? Apparently every seven minutes, conversations come to a lull. And awkward pauses can lead to dangers bursts of admissions, such as " I named the long hair on my arm Harriet." Don't panic. I have another sure fire way to safely avoid such hairy situations. Whenever a seven minute lull comes, simply talk about the phenomenon known as the seven minute lull. What could be more simple?
I hope this helps you become a little more comfortable conversing around new people. I mean, it hasn't really worked for me, but hopefully it will work for you. In fact, the next time you meet a new person, if you think about this post, and think about me, and how I actually did once name the hair on my arm Harriet, well, I think you will be feeling pretty good about yourself and the conversation will go a lot better.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Miss Morgan

Also while we were away on safari, Morgan had her first birthday party. We were lucky enough to be with most of my family for the big day. I think she must have been having too much fun at the pre-party party, because she showed up to her own birthday party with only a diaper on. She had a lovely ice cream cake that she shoved in her mouth as fast as her fat little fingers could shovel. She then completely ignored me as I opened up her presents. To her, it was like any other day, except this one had dairy in it.

( So I know this is a lame picture, but it is the only one I have of the party- my camera died right after this, but my BIL took some with his camera and hopefully I will get those one day.)

There are a million things I love about Morgan. She likes to put small things into bigger containers- it could keep her occupied all day. She also likes us to read to her. She picks books off the bookshelf, then walks over to us, hands us the book, and then proceeds to back-up into our laps, patiently waiting for us to read to her. She likes to get her back tickled- she will hold completely still if you tickle her back. She is really sensitive- if you say the word 'don't' in a firm voice, it hurts her feelings, and she slowly morphs into the stay-puffed marshmallow man and starts to cry. It melts your heart, kind of like a heart s'more, if you will.

She has a vintage (another word for old hand-me-down) little person that she likes to carry around all the time in her hand. She only likes this particular little person, and I think she likes it so much because it kinda looks like herself.

I love her. I can't get enough of her serious face, her silly face, and her giggle.

Happy Birthday, Bugs.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Was Off on Safari

And now I am back again. We had a wonderful trip back home to have our family reunion. It was wonderful seeing everyone again, and again, I am awfully sorry for all the offensive things I may or may not have said. Does a bulk apology work? I hope so. Or else I don't think I will ever be invited back.

To be serious (not that I wasn't before), I loved being with all of my family, which is growing at an enjoyable rate (lots of new baby girls!). We went up to into the mountains for some cabin-sleeping, horse-shoe tossing, bad-mitten-dominating, scones-eating, snake-in-the-pool, good times.

Let me give you a detailed rundown of the entire four days. The first day we pulled up into the camp ground at exactly 12:31 pm, with anticipation and butterflies that tickled our stomachs and made us uncomfortably aware that we needed to pee, by crossing over a creaky, decrepit wooden bridge that looked as if it would be the last wooden bridge that the cumbrous white SUV would ever ride over. . . blah, blah, blah. . . four days later, we packed up and went home, the only butterflies in tow were the dead ones in the children's bug finder boxes.

That was it in a nut shell (though I blah, blah, blahed through the best part). One of the things that we did was go on a wicked (I learned on the radio today that this means 'very' or 'really') cool safari. There were painted animals hidden around the forest and the kids had binoculars to search them out and kill the beasts!!! No, not really. They just found the beasts, and patiently stood in line to get prizes from each animal. It was pretty awesome, even if no card board animals were hurt in the process. It is from this Safari that I wanted to post some pictures that basically summed up the whole two week vacation for Claire.

Here are all the kids at the beginning of the Safari, being told a story, even being taught a safari song. See all the kids participating.

Wait, I don't see Claire. Where could she be?

These little cuties are happily joining in on the story and song.

So are these little cuties.

And here is Claire,

acting like singing Safari songs is like attending a Kenny Loggins concert.

I think you get my drift.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ticket to Crazy Town

So I was tagged by Shannon (she's four, they are suppose to be playing tag at that age). I was suppose to ask Claire these questions and write down her exact answer. Here you go, a look inside her crazy, sidetracked mind.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Don’t ever cross the street without your mom or else you will get hit by a car. (So she does listen to what I say!)

2. What makes mom happy?
Going pee pee in the potties (hey, who doesn't that make happy?)

3. What makes mom sad?
Kicking somebody over with my . . . see, like this. . I am just pretending. . . ow, ow ow,ow (those ow's are real, as she kicked the chair with her foot).

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Go (she makes a silly face) like that.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
Makes some yummy cookies. Do you like yummy cookies?

6. How old is your mom?
I don’t know. Can you tell me? Maybe 20. (You know it.)

7. How tall is your mom?
This tall (as she touches my toes and goes up to my head). (can you argue with her accuracy?)

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Makes cookies, right?

9. What does your mom do when you are not around?
Find me! (same exact answer as Shannon and there was no cheating involved)

10. If you mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
I don’t know. Brooke, I mean Mom. (Yeah, I don't know what that means either)

11. What is your mom really good at?
Making cookies. (she seems to be fixated on this particular aspect about me)

12. What is your mom not so good at?
I don’t know. Are you good at tying a ribbon up? (No really, she's probably right)

13. What does your mom do for her job?
To make cookies. (I'm really a Keebler elf)

14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
Broccoli (eeh. Wrong. She is way off).

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
Kick balls into the hole and I will be proud. (not quite sure what she is referring to, though it may have something to do with my stellar miniature golf abilities).

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
A racer one. Zoom, like speed racer. I have a silver speed racer. (She is very intuitive)

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Spank your bum bum (giggle) and cross the street. (I have nothing to say about that)

18. How are you and your mom the same?
Remember when I have black hair and little this size and your too big to me. (Sometimes she says things and I don't even think she knows what she is talking about).

19. How are you and your mom different?
You get into a machine and then get out and then you are different. (that is deep)

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
I give a kiss, like (kisses me on the cheek) and give a big hug, a pumpkin hug. (Really, what says love like a pumpkin hug?)

When I was little I was really good at tag- its not just about being able to run fast, it was about anticipating which direction that little garbage-pail-kids-card-trading brat in front of you was going to turn. Well, and it was also about flirting with the boys (nothing says 'I like you' than running fast and pulling them down by their collar), but I am just way to old for that now.

So I don't play tag anymore, but this was really fun to do with Claire, to get her perspective on truly important things (like me). If you have young 'uns I think you should try it, and even if you don't have young uns', you could ask your spouse and I am sure you would get some answers that make less sense than Claire's. And if you don't have a spouse, go out and play yourself some tag.