Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lessons I Learned from my Dad

I realize not everyone has the privilege of growing up with the world's greatest dad as I did, so in honor of this past Father's Day, I'd like to share with you some of the things I've learned from my father.  Below is a copy of the letter I wrote him as Hallmark could never relay my true sentiments.  If you are blessed with a wonderful father, thank God for him everyday.  If not, hopefully you'll learn a thing or two from my personal experiences.  (Also, if you have the great pleasure of knowing my dad personally, this list shouldn't surprise you even one tiny little bit!)   ; )

In celebration of your 34 years as my father, I’ve created a list of things I’ve either:
learned, experienced, or cherished from or because of YOU, one of my favorite and most important men in my life.  So here goes…
34.  If duct tape cannot fix it, throw it away—it is beyond repair.
33.  the unbeatable sound of a real Martin guitar—thanks for the “G” chord.
32.  the art of quoting movies in daily conversation as a result of watching them too many times to count, right, Captain Ron?
31.  that a child should grow up learning such culture as how to hit a 10-yard putt with precision from her own backyard putting green—that’s more important than learning how to swim.   ; )
30.  that whiskey cures pretty much any ailment—from a headache to a toothache to a rattlesnake bite.
29.  that it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings, thus, not an easy target for an attacker, to face the door in a public establishment and to know the exact number of airline seats to the nearest exit.
28.  that one should never “quit on a garment” simply because it’s what some would consider threadbare, worn out or ragged.  The sign of wear just adds character.  If it has a hole in the crotch area, (see item #34 on this list)—duct tape.
27.  the extensive uses of PVC pipe…everything from a golf ball catapult to the structure of a perfectly mobile and light-up UFO.  Also, science fair projects come with the territory of being a parent and thus, cannot be avoided.
26.  that a front porch is the best place for meditation, philosophizing, reflection and making good music.
25.  that you should always keep a watchful eye while cooking beans on the stove when Mom’s out of town and the smoke detector batteries are good (impromptu backyard campout, anyone?)
24.  that we don’t believe in doing things half-assed. We do big, bold, lots of color.  Honey, we don’t do natural.
23.  that everyone is a sinner in need of a loving Savior.
22.  that lying, cheating and stealing are signs of poor character and simply will not be tolerated; however, Xeroxing $100 bills for pretend “business” is completely acceptable and encouraged.
21.  that a red velvet armadillo cake is a must have for a girl’s sweet 16 birthday party.
20.  that most high school math is unnecessary in real life and that no one really cares or needs to know when the proverbial “trains A and B leave the station.”
19.  that physical affection (ie. hugs, kisses and Eskimo kisses) speaks louder than words.
18.  that one should never stay inside her comfort zone.  Talk to people on elevators, make someone smile every day and most importantly, make people LAUGH.
17.  to stand out from the crowd and always be true to yourself  (ie. simply don’t  give a rat’s ass what other people think of you).
16.  that anything (and I mean ANYthing) can be transformed with a coat of spray paint—shoes included!
15.  that growing old is inevitable, but growing up is a choice…and when it comes to picking out a Christmas tree, think like a kid—the bigger the better!
14.  that every aspiring singer needs her own spotlight-equipped stage in the backyard.
13.  that saying you’re going to do something means you’re going to do it—and if you’re going to do it, you may as well do it right the first time.
12.  that family is the most important thing in this life.
11.  to learn how to sing by spending my childhood on a backyard tree swing made out of rope and a 2x4.
10.  that a frozen TV dinner does not constitute a meal, so everyone should learn how to cook….and also, chicken can and WILL be cooked any and every way, 365 days a year during the first year while learning.
9.  that you “can’t take it with you” so you may as well enjoy your hard-earned money while you can—this means good food & wine regardless of the price tag….and if Mom never sees the receipt, it didn’t happen! (also, every girl needs to know the importance of volatizing the esters).
8.  that a fiddle contest is a perfectly good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
7.  what REAL award-winning chili should taste like.
6.  that you can NEVER have too much toilet paper.
5.  an example of the kind of man I should marry.
4.  the importance of music and chasing my dreams, no matter how ambitious or impossible to achieve they may seem—and that I can do or be anything I want if I put my mind to it.
3.  that every man should have a perm and/or a ponytail at some point in his life.
2.  that a little girl’s dollhouse should not be anything short of a masterpiece that takes several years to complete.
And the number #1 thing I’ve learned….
1.  that no matter how old I get, I’ll always be your baby girl.

Happy 34th Father’s Day to the best daddy a girl could ever dream of having—truly.
I love you more than my Louboutins!
June 2015
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past several decades or were recently thawed out and unearthed from the Ice Age, chances are, you have heard of the Kardashians.  ”Why are they famous?” you may ask.  My simple and honest response: “I have no idea.”  You should know that I am somewhat in tune with pop culture, Hollywood celebrities, and the fashion world—I blame it on the day job.  It’s quite possible I could take it as a sign that I read too many fashion magazines because I’m certainly not watching  Access Hollywood on a nightly basis.  I just happen to have a gift for retaining useless knowledge, trivia and famous names.  Even though I possess a wealth of said unimportant knowledge, I still found myself googling “Why are the Kardashians famous?”

The short answer is this: their father, Robert Kardashian, was the famous attorney who represented OJ Simpson during the most publicized murder trial of the 90s.  That’s it.  Period.  I guess this just goes to show that, in life, it really is all about who you know.  Sure, the Kardashian sisters may get publicity for their long, dark flowing locks (which I can assure you are as fake as the breasts of all the Beverly Hills Housewives).  Their striking dark features enable them to stand out among the typical blonde bombshell type that resides in Malibu beach houses.  Other than that, they’ve simply gained their place in the public eye as a result of the family they were born into.  And if we’re being totally honest—it’s quite a train wreck of a family.

In a world where true talent abounds but often goes unnoticed and/or undiscovered, it’s rather disconcerting that talentless individuals grace the spotlight, basking in undeserved fame and fortune.  Call me a snob, but I don’t think one’s pedigree should influence his/her celebrity status.  Namely, one Paris Hilton.  She may be famous (or rather, infamous) for her wealthy ancestral line, but she hasn’t done one credible thing to earn her celebrity status.  Party going and posing in newspaper tabloids does not a celebrity make.  Or does it?Apparently, all you need to do these days in order to gain widespread attention is film and accidentally leak a scandalous sex tape.

Instantly, you’re catapulted into the spotlight, securing your spot on celebrity A lists, at which point, you’re free to marry other fame-seeking idiots and have a child who you will forever punish by giving him the most God-awful name known to exist (but that’s another topic for another time).  Now I’m fully prepared to receive hate mail from those of you who think Kanye West’s musical talent and Kim’s physical beauty entitle them to the fame and fortune they so enjoy, and I’m totally okay with that.  Let’s just agree to disagree on that right up front.  But regardless of Kanye’s talent as a musician, he has got to be one of the rudest, most self-absorbed individuals that ever graced the cover of a magazine, and Kim’s beauty is no more impressive than that of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, or other  Hollywood starlets who didn’t need a seedy sex tape to gain public attention.  In short, someone for youngsters of today to call role models? I hardly think so.

At the end of the day, who really cares about “keeping up with the Kardashians?”  We are living in a world where the very same people who could tell you the name of Kim’s and Kanye’s baby (poor child) couldn’t in the same breath tell you who our current vice president is or list the three branches that make up the United States government.  Now please don’t misunderstand my rant—I’m not opposed to famous people receiving deserved recognition for utilizing their God-given talents and putting forth effort and hard work in chasing their dreams.  I’m simply sick and tired of celebrities gaining notoriety for nothing more than the prestige of their surnames.  Call me blunt, but I just have to say it.  Kim, your fifteen minutes of fame is wearing a little long and, quite frankly, I’m ready for your time to be up.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Facebook is a Drug, & Mark Zuckerberg is My Dealer

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They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, so here goes..."My name is Cassie, and I'm addicted to social media."  Whew, that takes a load off my shoulders.  I didn't realize I even HAD a problem until recently when my husband asked, "Hypothetically, what would you do if you didn't have Facebook?"  Then and only then--when my heart stopped for an ever so brief second--did I realize that perhaps I should give credence to his accusations that Facebook is taking over my life.
It all started as a way to keep in touch with classmates from my past and family who lives over 1,000 miles away--a "like" here, a comment there.  Over the years, however, it's morphed into an obsession (okay maybe "obsession" is too strong a word---or is it?) where I find myself constantly taking part in quizzes to discover my spirit animal, what type of candy I am, my strongest personality trait or  which famous actress should play me in a movie version of my life.  Can you say, time waster?
What was originally intended to keep me informed about the comings and goings of friends and family now has me feeling as though I've constantly got to let the world know what I'm eating for dinner or what I'm doing (or not doing) on a rainy Saturday night.  I've also heard it said that "Comparison is the thief of joy."  Well, how hard is it to look at picture after picture of gorgeous families in their perfect homes, enjoying the company of their just-as-perfect friends?  I'll answer that one for you--it's very hard.  But I'm not so naive as to think it's all a bowl of cherries, 24/7.  After all, no one ever posts the bad stuff on Facebook.  No one posts pictures of hangovers or their new Christmas pajamas after their sick child has projectile vomited on them.  No one posts about the gut-wrenching heartache they're going through as a result of yet another negative pregnancy test or a pending divorce.  No siree--it's all rainbows, unicorns and giant multicolored lollipops here in Facebookland.
I don't typically make New Years resolutions as there's no quicker way to set yourself up for failure and the disappointment that follows shortly thereafter; however, I am going to try to limit my exposure time to Facebook.  With that being said, if you don't see me documenting my day in 2-hour increments in the coming months, just know that I haven't died.  I'm simply working on kicking my so-called addiction.  I plan to live real life and not fall victim to the pressures and unrealistic expectations Facebook projects upon me to live a picture-perfect existence because, let's face it, life is messy.  Now if only there was a like button for that resolve in a social-media-free life.