Friday, April 28, 2017

Kiss the Ring of Truth

When you're a teenager, there is this little 'magical, electrical' feeling you get sometimes when you're excited about something that, in my own personal experience, just doesn't happen later in life, or at least not past the 20s. Maybe it's just me. Crushes and fun moments always felt that way though. Originally, I started this post yesterday to recognize "Remember Your First Kiss Day", but I got busy and didn't get to finish. So we'll still say that we are celebrating "First Kisses", and you get a fun story to boot.

You see, during High School, when we got our class rings, there was some sort of ritual about 'turning our class rings', which I believe I misunderstood. I thought it was that you turned your ring when you received your 'first kiss'. How I came to this conclusion, I am still not sure. Because in searching a bit about it on the internet, there is a 'ring turning tradition' but it has nothing to do with first kisses. I sure wish I had known this back then, as the turning of the rings, might have given me some better luck (I say, sounding very superstitious, thanks Mom!). As it is supposed to go, per my research into this tradition, you'd begin by wearing the ring facing yourself (if you have some sort of crest or verbiage on the ring, I guess this makes it easier to determine). With the ring facing yourself, it denotes impending graduation (meaning you have not yet graduated). Then, as we all know on your Graduation Day, it is customary to turn your tassel to the other side once you've officially walked and received your diploma, and as far as your class ring goes, it would then be turned outward, facing away from you, which lets everyone know then that you have graduated.

Now on the subject of "Turning the Ring". This is the truth of the tradition as I have found, and as mentioned above, this is something that goes on once you receive your class ring, but before graduation. I'm not sure about the direction, I believe that depends on what you choose, or a specific school might determine the direction you turn it. Most likely it is more about the social side, doubtful that the institution would make a ruling on this, unless it had to do with specific traditions of the school involved. Once you choose the direction, however, you continue to turn the ring in that same direction. Anyways, your friends or classmates, family and even your teachers can take part in the turning of your ring. There are cases where you set a meaning to the number, like the first person could be a parent, or your BFF, etc... and you might set a specific number for your significant other. In most of the references I have read, however, the most significant is the very last person who turns the ring... for this, it is almost always stated that you would choose someone very special or significant to perform the final turn.

This must be where my confusion came in during high school. I always felt behind in the romance department anyway, always felt like a late-bloomer, left out of the dating game and never really had a boyfriend, and never had anyone 'crushing' on me (to my knowledge). I was painfully shy, and also felt awkward, fat and unpopular... Looking back, I have discovered it wasn't exactly as I saw it. That's the way we all feel I think, and then discover later that we were wrong.

Well, even though nobody ever seemed to have a crush on me, I certainly had my fair share of crushes on others. One of them, in fact turned out to be my very first romantic kiss. I discovered him in the midst of some shenanigans my best friend and I were getting into. She dragged me along to visit this guy that SHE had the hots for, much to his dismay I am sure, as I always felt that we often showed up unannounced, and in a somewhat harassing manner. It is pretty funny looking back, and she and I often laugh about this when we recall our teen adventures over lunches and what have you.

As the story goes, on one particular occasion, as we were busting up into RR's apartment so that she could harass him, we were met at the door by my soon-to-be crush LR. He answered the door, fresh out of the shower in nothing but a towel. Bear in mind that what might not stir us as adults (having "seen it all" if you will) was sensory overload to my then 16 year old brain. He had auburn hair, and lifted weights so he had quite the build at the time, and I was instantly smitten. (Looking back I can't imagine why, as I laugh--seriously, he was not that good looking). Oh how crazy are those teenage hormones, they can make you think you're in love with Shrek. But for the sake of my story, imagine he looks like one of those dudes on the cover of a sexy romance novel.

I'll curb the long, drawn out details for now, but basically you know that Bestie and I, now both having a vested interest in harassing this specific residence, were full force in what we thought happened to be perfect seduction techniques. So we went by every chance we could, and I'm sure we wellllll wore out our welcome. In fact, I am convinced that they packed up and moved to get away from us, as they never told us the plans, but we happened to "pop by" one day when they were in the middle of prepping a waterbed and packing for the move. Reluctantly, they told us they were  moving to Coldwater (which was just a town over), and did not tell us the address, shockingly. Once they were gone, of course our trouble-seeking urges took over, and we were obligated to ride around the town until we figured out exactly where they moved. Keep in mind this was before you could actually "Google" and zero in on the whereabouts of someone with the tiniest piece of information. In defense of the county we grew up in, it's no New York City. So it didn't take long, nor did it take much gas to discover one of their trucks parked in a driveway on a narrow road off one of the main streets in town. So what do you think we did? Stealth around and gather more information just to be on the safe side, as well as not to look like complete stalkers? WRONG. We immediately descended upon their new abode with great fervor, as if we had been invited to a housewarming party. Yes, where did all of that boldness and confidence come from? I would be petrified to do anything of the sort now. Kids will be kids, am I right?

So here we all are, in the same situation as when they were living in the apartment near campus: Us dropping by whenever we felt like it and most likely them trying desperately to think of escape tactics. You know how men are, though, they will take advantage of a situation or a naive young girl as quickly as they'll order cheese in their grits. While in the midst of one of these unsolicited visits, my crush happened to be out late, and my Bestie was in full seduction mode with RR in the back of the house. According to her story, they had some fun, and some making out happened, but it did not go all the way. I, myself sat patiently on the couch, watching some weird t.v. show, and an hour or so later HE finally arrived home. Some flirtation and conversation was exchanged, he complained about his back, and bold young me somehow worked in a half-joking suggestion of performing a massage to help him feel better. This was, in my mind, a way to finally make physical contact with him, and get him where I wanted him.  Well he beckoned me back into his bedroom, took full advantage of my offer, and for a while the situation was going along as smoothly as a Danielle Steel novel, of course if you know me, you know the story had an awkward moment, or a bumbling sort of ending, and also did not go all the way, but let's just say I got some experience that night, thrilling to me and I wasn't even at Band Camp! Zipping to the magic moment, however and avoiding the most juicy of the details (sorry guys, another time?).

The Kiss!!! (cue climactic music)

LR slowly leaned up, grabbed me with his strong, muscular arms and pressed his lips to mine. Floating on a cloud, I felt like I had to be dreaming. Was this real? My feverish crush, here, holding me, actually kissing me, definitely an adult kiss, just like in the novels and the movies. I was in shock, disbelief and heaven all at the same time. His mouth moved over my tender and inexperienced lips, his confident tongue found my timid one, and for several moments we were locked in an embrace  that for me, at least was the stuff of my teenage dreams. In the midst of my bliss, and due to the misconception about the ring tradition, with my eyes closed and a little 'thank you' silently spoken.

I reached over and I turned my ring... what a lovely, fairy tale ending, I thought.

Just then, I came to my senses and realized that I was tasting something gritty, bitter and disgusting... It was being transferred from under his tongue and inside his lip into my mouth. I was fully back into reality at this point as I sickeningly realized that the boy dipped SNUFF (Skoal, you know that tobacco product people put right inside the lip)!!! I was completely horrified and turned off, and to this day it affects my attraction and/or decision making about who I would date. Yes, oh you read it here, ladies and gentlemen, my first kiss, and part of my innocence, "Snuffed Out" in mere seconds. Ain't it the way life goes?  ;-)

Have a romantic and Skoal-Free weekend y'all!!!

Your favorite Aunt,

Jaxxxxxx

Read the Wiki Article on Class Rings



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Special Brownies

We talk about our Moms a lot here on the blogs, but that's because to Chelly and to me, our Mothers were such role models and strong, hard to forget women, just like we aspire to be.

Now, to know me as an adult, you would never even imagine me outdoors doing anything remotely close to building a fire, setting up tents or learning to cook in the ground or over a flame. Stepping on a snake, or lying awake all night under the stars while getting eaten alive by Mississippi's state bird (Mosquito) are things that I avoid with every ounce of my soul. I mean, my gosh. Girl Scouts are always doing things like cleaning up trash on the highways and getting stung by bees, singing "Kumbaya", hiking in the swelter, mucking around outside in the stinky, muddy, sweaty outdoors. However, there was a time that I, Auntie Jax braved the elements and did my time learning survival skills, earning patches and of course, selling those famous cookies we all know and love. Things have changed a lot over the years, I know, but once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout (if nothing else, by being traumatized by the experiences, or being thoroughly enriched by some of the strengths and habits we were instilled and left with).

My sweet, adoring and sometimes fanatical Mother, you see, was a Girl Scout Leader, eventually earning herself a lifetime membership. She was all things outdoors, loved the lifestyle, adored primitive camping and was in my honest opinion, the epitome of what a true Girl Scout should be. "You always leave things better than you found them." She delighted in passing these values and skills along to us, her daughters and grandchildren too. However, some of us were not quite as enthusiastic about it (mostly me, I think lol). But the principles and lessons learned in Girl Scouts, I admit are wonderful building blocks for us as young women. We could do with a lot more of that today. But alas, I wasn't that happy about it back then. I felt forced, but I appreciate now what my Mother was truly trying to do, ain't that the way it goes?

A word about the Girl Scout Motto: The Girl Scout motto is "Be prepared." In the 1947 Girl Scout Handbook, the motto was explained this way: "A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency." The same holds true today. We began our meetings, always, holding up the Sign with our hands, and reciting our Girl Scout Promise:

On my honor, I will try: 
    To serve God and my country,
    To help people at all times, 

    And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

(Read more about Girl Scout Laws, Promise and Traditions)

Day Camp, for me was a particularly dreaded nightmare. All the interaction with other troops and the chores, outdoorsy events and tasks we were charged with, all in the name of scoring those badges to go on our sash. These events were always in the dead heat of a Mississippi / Memphis summer, which you've heard me tell before is something akin to Malebolge.

One particular summer, we were attending our usual Day Camp at Arkabutla Lake. It was the usual uncomfortable 'fun' and fanfare, when we planned that Thursday to be an overnight camping stay. Needless to say, I was less than enthused about this. However, that evening rolled around, and our sleeping quarters were set-up, supplies in place. It was not just our troop, but girls from others as well. My niece Stacey (1 year younger than me as I always remind you guys because I was an Auntie at such a tender young age) was in attendance. Once the campfire songs were over and we had cleaned up after our dinner, everyone set out for bedtime. All was quiet until one of the girls from Tunica, Mississippi pulled a knife on another girl, and had to be dealt with. My Mom moved us out of the tent with the 'violent Tunica girls' as she referred to them, and Stacey and I ended up having to rough it outside on a picnic table. As the night drew on, the Mosquitoes descended upon the camp and Stacey and I were both prime targets.

My Mom, The Forever Girl Scout
I am struggling to remember if we had any "Off" or other spray. I know that my Mother also knew of the merits of Avon's "Skin So Soft" bath oil, that repels the little blood sucking varmints for some odd reason. However, we must not have had any at our disposal as they were literally trying to carry us away. It was a miserable night. One poor girl was covered in big 'whelps', even worse than me.

This ordeal got so bad, that my Mom pulled out these packs of industrial cleaning rags that she had packed away, and began to burn them in pans in an effort to smoke the hordes of mosquitoes out of camp. At one point the Park Rangers came over to see about us and thought we were performing some sort of weird rituals since they spotted the burning rags. Haha! Eventually, the night was over, and we had to power through the very last day of camp on virtually no sleep, little energy and wanting to go home and get back to the comfort of our central AC so badly we could taste it! (or was it the taste of smoke?)

Either way, I think that was one of the last times I remember going camping with our Troop. Mom somehow kept me in Girl Scouts up through Brownies (which is around middle school level). I never went further than that.

Though these experiences were harrowing while we were going through some of them, we really did have a lot of fun times too--I just rarely admit that since I am not much of an outdoorsy gal. There were many laughs, good friends, good food (like S'mores, I adore them to this day!) and of course those famed Cookie Sales. Girl Scouts really is a great thing for many women, and I hope it continues to be something meaningful for girls everywhere throughout the ages, just like it was for my beautiful forever Scout Mom. Hope you're up there in heaven Mom with your fire ring and roasting marshmallows, because I still miss that, and always will miss everything about you. What I wouldn't give to have a weenie roast out in the pasture with you right now.

Enjoy these shots of my Mom, a little later in her life, still playing with her fire ring, and reveling in her love of all things outdoors. Kumbaya Mama, Kumbaya anytime! xoxo

My Mom, while she and I were walking back to her "Fire Ring" she kept at home. 

Mom with one of her mighty
German Shepherds enjoying the day

A Scenic Spot off the highway near my home in
Northern Mississippi, Home of my Girl Scout Mother


Monday, April 24, 2017

Keepin Those Pigs Warm

Well, happy "National Pigs in a Blanket Day" everybody! I'm not one to lay heavy on the pork, well I know some folks use various ingredients on those little 'delicacies', but just thought I would share as it's one of the more prominent things to celebrate today.

Since it's a Monday, I figured it would perk everybody up a bit, who doesn't love party food? Or if you've a respect for farm animal life, we can honestly celebrate the cuteness of an actual real adorable Pig in a blanket, I kinda prefer that myself, anyways, how bout you?


The other holidays we can celebrate today are:

Administrative Professional's Day
Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day
National Pigs-in-a Blanket Day
World Meningitis Day

So, as you can see, I felt like the Pigs in a Blanket thing was the best choice to make something cute out of it... Not that "Administrative Professional's Day isn't cute, but hey they all get enough attention. Pigs go unappreciated, in my honest opinion.

Now Armenian Genocide and World Meningitis are not to be taken lightly by a long shot, so let's take a pause to think on those and remember as well as think of ways to prevent the both. (insert silent moment here).

Other than that, I just wanted to pop in and make a short blog entry, and I'd like to add that I have continued to write, jot down ideas, brainstorm and still trying to improve, de-clutter and pep up my space, as well as my life. Each day a little better... Momento al momento, right? I'm trying to keep myself on the track of being more positive, more confident and really just enjoying each moment as it comes and letting it flow. Life is too short to stress or really let anything get to us or beat us down. We gotta hang in there and stop fighting against the tides, and holding on to the bank, relax and go with it. Things get so much easier when we do that and have faith in where we are and where we are going naturally, I believe that 100%.

Now let me finish out this afternoon's tasks, and get hold of myself, after all, I still hate Mondays.

Just me,


Jax (Aunt Jackie)