10 Happy New Years

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At precisely 10 seconds to midnight tonight, my husband and I will not-only be puckering up, like many of you, with a plan to kiss in the New Year like we do every year, but we’ll also be celebrating our 10 year anniversary!

That’s 10 years together as a couple and a whole decade of happy New Years!!

Wow?! Yay us!

At the culmination of 2001, we were with friends on the dance floor of a packed club in New York City, and just as the deejay started the 10 second countdown clock and the whole place and everyone in it got revved up and ready to ring in 2002, that’s the moment when Jason, the sweet, funny, smart, sexy (and at the time, soon-to-be) love of my life who I’d been seeing on and off for a little over a month (but who I knew for a little over a year), turned to me with a smile and asked me to be his girlfriend. Well, for the sake of 100% accuracy, what he actually said was, “Are you my girlfriend?”

I remember it like it was yesterday. And, at the time, I also remember that I was completely freaked out. I mean, that’s an awful lot of pressure to put on your date at the 10 seconds to midnight mark!

Well, thank God I said “Yes!!”

Jason, my love, I was then, I am now and I always will be your girlfriend! And now, 10 years later, I am also your wife and the mother of your child. We’ve made so many wonderful memories together and, yet, it’s hard to believe a decade has passed. Looking at random pictures blows my mind. It sometimes seems like we’ve been everywhere and done everything together!

Since 12/31/2001 (at 11:59:50pm), we’ve traveled to (and even lived in) so many cool, interesting places and shared so many amazing experiences together. It’s been a crazy, fun, fantastic journey. And I wouldn’t change a thing! I can’t wait to see what adventures will come our way in 2012 and every year after. I look forward to ringing in each new year together with you for the rest of our lives. How sweet it is to live happily ever after with you!

Happy anniversary, Jason Henderson! You are my best friend, the love of my life and the very best thing that’s ever happened to me. You’ve made my favorite holiday even better and my life everything that it is today! I couldn’t imagine it without you in it and I hope I never have to. I love you and Lyla more than anything or anyone in the world. I always have and always will…

I hope all of you are covered in love and laughter in 2012.

Happy New Year!

Toast(ed)

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As promised, a blog dedicated to Champagne Concoctions…

Like many of you, I love champagne. I love the triumphant pop of the cork, the festive fizz, the easily overflowing glasses and, of course, the bubbles… anyone who follows my blog knows I have a fondness for bubbles.

Not only is champagne fun to drink but it’s a lot like a celebration in a glass. Even if you have nothing in particular to celebrate, it makes you feel like you do and there’s nothing wrong with that. And while I have no problem drinking champagne straight up (and occasionally with a straw); it’s always fun to get creative. So add whatever you like but here’s a breakdown of what I consider some highly successful and yummy creative champagne concoctions.

Popular Concoctions: These are some champagne fan favorites. For those of us who love champagne (me!!) or just simply don’t like beer (me too!!), these creative, festive drinks are especially fun. There seem to be many variations and new versions get added each New Year, but here’s a brief list of my all-time favorite favorites. If you haven’t tried one of these yet, I suggest you get started!

  1. Poinsettia: Chilled champagne, about 3 oz cranberry juice (or POM is also yummy), splash of triple sec or Cointreau. I’ve also heard a variation of this called a Pretty Woman (maybe because if you drink too many, you might end up in a bandeau tube dress in Richard Gere’s hotel room?)
  2. Bellini: 2 oz peach juice or puree, 4 oz champagne (the colder the better so might I suggest pre-freezing the peach juice in ice cube trays)
  3. Frozen Bikini: Add 2 oz vodka, 2 oz peach Schnapps,   3 oz peach nectar, 2 oz OJ, splash of lemon juice to a chilled glass, then fill the rest of the way with chilled champagne. Drop in a strawberry if you’re feeling especially sassy.
  4. New York City (AKA: Metro): 4 oz chilled champagne, 1 oz Vodka, splash lime juice, splash Cointreau, splash cranberry juice. You’ll be singing New York, New York in no time.
  5. Blushing Bride: Chilled champagne, Peach Schnapps, Grenadine

Nameless (and faceless) Concoctions: Here’s a list of concoctions I’ve come up with on my own over the years, although (since everything old is new again) others have probably concocted the same or similar versions. Fair Warning: These are simple but dangerous!

  1. Equal parts X-Rated Fusion Liquor (it’s pink and sort of tastes like pink grapefruit juice) and pink champagne (Barefoot Bubbly is my fave).
  2. Champagne with just a splash of grenadine (or any cherry syrup) and a lime twist (or squirt of lime juice if you don’t feel like twisting). I almost always love the taste of lime and cherry mixed together.
  3. Champagne Jell-O Shots: These are popular and there are a ton of different recipes available. Here’s mine: Add 1-six ounce box Jell-O (any flavor, I like strawberry if you want to use pink champagne or grape if you want to use white champagne) to 2 cups boiling water (stir till dissolved), add 2 cups cold champagne (pink or white). I use a turkey baster to divide the concoction into tiny cups (I use thin plastic cups or I double up paper cups which can be found at any party store). Chill to set. Note #1: For stronger shots, add just 1 cup of boiling water, then add an extra cup of champagne once solution dissolves. Note #2: I also make a mean margarita Jell-O shot but I’m saving it for Cinco de Mayo… though since it’s green, maybe I’ll post for St. Patrick’s Day.
  4. Chilled champagne is perfect all alone but I like to add fruit (grapes or strawberries are perfect additions) and even a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract to make simple champagne even better! Fruit is good for you!
  5. Raspberry (or any fruit flavored) vodka and champagne (I don’t measure when I do this, but if I did it would probably be about a 1:2 ratio, give or take). So easy… so go easy.

Champagne Punch: Great for parties of 2 or more! This is a sampling of awesome punches I’ve discovered along the way. Bust out your fancy punch bowl (or perhaps a less risky shatter-proof Tupperware or basic plastic bowl if your parties tend to get wild) and get to spiking!

  1. Classic Champagne Punch: 2 liter bottle of ginger ale, bottle of champagne, container of orange sherbet  (empty contents into bowl, serve)
  2. Pink Punch: 1 bottle pink champagne, 2 containers frozen pink lemonade concentrate, 2 containers frozen cranberry or fruit juice concentrate, 1 bottle chilled red wine, 1 quart chilled club soda, ice cubes
  3. Hawaiian Punch: 2 liter bottle Hawaiian Punch, 2 cups Malibu Rum, 1 cup Southern Comfort, 1 bottle champagne, 2 liter bottle Pineapple soda, jar of maraschino cherries, 1 bag frozen pineapple (cubed), ice cubes (Note: coconut shell bikini and grass skirt optional)
  4. Sucker Punch: 1 bottle champagne, 1 cup vodka (vanilla is nice in this), 1 cup tequila, 1 cup rum, 2 cups peach Schnapps (sucker!!), 1 can frozen OJ, 1 can frozen pineapple juice, 1 can frozen cranberry juice, 2 liters tonic water, ice, (add club soda if the punch tastes too sweet)
  5. Margarita Punch: 1 bottle champagne, 4 cups clear tequila, 4 cups triple sec, 1 bottle of either lime margarita mix or sweet n sour mix, 2 liters lemon lime soda, 1 cup Agave Nectar (if available), 1 cup lime juice, 4 limes (sliced and quartered), crushed ice, (serve in margarita glasses with salted or sugared rims as an option)

Champagne Floats: Add a scoop of frozen, mashed, sliced or diced strawberries, peaches, pineapples, grapes or berries to champagne and it’s almost like a delicious, nutritious, fizzy dessert! Prep the fruit in advance, store in freezer bags and keep frozen till needed. It’s also fun to add a spoonful of sorbet (any flavor, I like raspberry) or water ice (for yews Philly folks) to a glass of your favorite bubbly (kind of like a party punch but for a party of one).

“My-mosas”: Who doesn’t love mimosas? I know I do. I often joke with my brunch buddies and say they should be called “moremosas” because I like them so much. Occasionally, instead of adding OJ to champagne, I like to add any one of the following: mango nectar (it’s thick so just a splash will do!), Welch’s grape juice (it’s like grape soda, only better!), V-8 Splash (why not drink your veggies?), cranberry juice (yummy, festive and good for the kidneys!).

Born Again Virgins: Non-alcoholic “champagne” concoctions can be made by substituting the champagne for anything fizzy (i.e., tonic water, ginger ale, sparking grape juice). I call these Born Again Virgins. When I host a party, I like to serve both alcoholic and nonalcoholic options so everyone can join in on the fun. It’s a nice way to include your designated drivers, people who can’t or don’t choose to drink, pregnant and nursing women and even kids/teens. Remember: You don’t need alcohol to have fun!

If you come up with or come across new yummy champagne or mock-champagne concoctions or cocktails, please share them by leaving a comment. I’d love to add more bubbly fun to my list.

Most importantly, please be safe and responsible! If you’re going to drink, I suggest doing so in the safety and comfort of your own home and/or with friends or family whom you trust to take care of you. If you’re going to be out and about, it’s always a good idea to select a designated driver in advance and leave your car keys at home. If you (or your friends) aren’t fit to drive but need to get from here to there, please call a cab, a friend or ask someone who hasn’t been drinking to help. Don’t drink and drive. You know better!

AAA offers a wonderful FREE service called Tipsy Tow for folks needing a ride home. You don’t need to be a member; simply call 1-800-AAA-HELP between 6pm on 12/31 and 6am on 1/1 and they will come get you. That’s sure to save lives. Thank you, AAA!

Have fun and be safe!

Here’s to you! Happy New Year!

Happy New Year’s Eve (a few days early)!

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Have I ever told you how much I love New Year’s Eve? Well, it’s my faaaaaavvvvvvorrrrrite day of the year, and I can’t wait!

Now is the perfect time for making resolutions, looking forward to happier days ahead, celebrating all the people who bring us joy and coming up with fun, festive champagne concoctions!

I like to think of the New Year as a free pass at hitting the restart button. It no longer matters what you didn’t have the opportunity to do, try or achieve this year. It’s a chance to shake off any residual negativity and start anew. Now you have a whole new year! I hope you make the most of it. I know I will.

Personally, I like to make a long list of resolutions. In fact, I just finished obsessing over my list. I like setting and striving for goals. And by having multiple goals, I have a better than average chance of achieving (at least some of) them. If I should happen to miss a few, oh well. I don’t think of it as failing. Besides, between you and me, I have a system that never allows me to fail.

I start by writing a long, rather vague list. People often say “the devil is in the details” and I find that to be especially true with resolutions. And the more the merrier, right? I truly believe that I have a far better shot at success if I don’t put all my eggs in the same resolution basket. So once I have a lengthy, less-than-specific list organized, then I give myself immediate points just for trying and then partial points when I make small strides (like losing 2 pounds, for example) and more points (if and) when I succeed. Oh and it helps to have poor math skills, since my creative addition typically adds up to a perfect score.

This year, I’ve made 12 resolutions (for 2012). Here’s my list:

  1. Take better care of my mind, body and spirit
  2. Make time to play every day
  3. Drink more water
  4. Nourish relationships and build new ones
  5. Ignore negative thoughts and negative people
  6. Find creative ways to be happy
  7. Get more sleep
  8. Take bubble baths every chance I get
  9. Surprise myself
  10. Conquer at least one fear
  11. Decorate
  12. Never stop trying

So as you can see, they’re for the most part pretty vague. And that’s perfect because when I look back at this list, I will be able to see the good in what I set out to do and recognize many ways in which I was able to achieve these goals. See? The New Year hasn’t even started and yet I’m already winning (did that last part make you think of Charlie Sheen?).

Speaking of winning, why not celebrate as though you’ve already won? Whether or not you make an actual list of resolutions or simply take a moment to set a specific goal, make it a point to celebrate moments and milestones along the way. Recognize how awesome you already are and how much more awesome you are becoming!

On New Year’s Eve, I plan to surround myself with people I love and toast our past, present and future achievements throughout the night. That’s a lot of toasts, which is why I’m also trying to come up with some creative champagne concoctions. When I have that list, I’ll be sure to share it with you! And I also plan to stay safe (no driving!) and hydrated by alternating bubbly beverages with water (hey, that’s 2 resolutions right there! See? I’m already winning!).

Whatever you do to ring in the New Year, I hope you have fun doing it. But more than that, I hope you had a wonderful 2011 and I wish you and yours a safe, successful, happy, healthy 2012!

xoxo

Mommy, kiss it!

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My 2-yr-old daughter, Lyla, recently discovered the healing powers of mommy kisses. And, as a mommy, I recently discovered that it is AWESOME to be able to so quickly and easily kiss away my daughter’s tears.

It’s true. A mother’s kisses are nothing less than mystical and magical, kind of like unicorns. I’ve actually known this since way back when I was Lyla’s age since my mom also has magical kisses. My mom’s kisses had the exact same effect… and sometimes they still do. Now that I think about it, maybe it’s hereditary? Nah, I’m pretty sure it simply comes with the job description.

But isn’t it amazing how something as simple as a kiss can make the hurt instantly go away? When Lyla bumps, falls, bruises or scrapes, a kiss from me is enough to stop the tears. It’s kind of wonderful actually.

So at my daughter’s request, I’ve kissed everything… well, almost everything. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Without hesitation, I’ve kissed her forehead dozens of times. I’ve kissed elbows and knees, arms, legs, feet, hands, fingers and even toes. I’ve kissed the top of her head and her tummy.

I even fell for it the day Lyla said, “Mommy, kiss it” and then puckered her lips. With no questions asked, I puckered up too but as I leaned in for what I’d assumed would be an innocent peck on the mouth, at the last second the little turd stuck out her tongue. I realized too late that she must have bitten it and thought a kiss from me would heal it. I’m not sure if it helped but I now have my guard up for next time she tries to trick me and lick my face. Yuck! But I can’t blame her for trying since biting your tongue sucks and, to her, nothing quite compares to mommy kisses.

“Mommy, kiss it,” she says after each and every ouchy. Bump her head or stub a toe? Better find mommy! It doesn’t always involve a boo-booed body part either. There are times when she asks me to kiss something that wasn’t even an ouchy at all.

On special request, I’ve kissed her best friend, Tags the Tag Ball (it’s sort of like a security blanket-ish item but it’s a ball with tags whose name, for obvious reasons, is Tags). I’ve also kissed a bear or two, a dolly and even a Dora and a Wubbzy.

I know my husband’s jealous too. He’d never admit it, but I’m 100% sure that he wishes his kisses were as magical and mystical as mine. I mean, while he’s no unicorn, kisses from Daddy are obviously good too and they will certainly work in a pinch… I guess. But, in our house, nothing compares to Mommy’s kisses.

If only this could last forever! But I know she’ll someday have a hurt that can’t so easily be kissed away. And, perhaps before then, she’ll probably outgrow asking for kisses altogether. So I’m cherishing this time while it lasts and, at her request, I will happily kiss it–whatever it is–no questions asked.

Well, like I said earlier, almost anything.

I admit there was one time when I turned her down…

Recently, after a rather rough bout of stomach flu and a weeklong case of the runs, Lyla’s tummy was finally feeling better but my poor little angel had a very sore tushy. And I guess baby powder was no longer doing the trick.

So far, that was the only time I’ve drawn the line when she innocently looked up at me and said, “Mommy, kiss it!”

Social Brainstorming

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Writing is typically a very solitary activity. In general, creative types can tend at times to be almost hermit-like especially during our most creative journeys of self-discovery and expression.

Nobody comes to mind, other than maybe the Dalai Lama in all his meditative glory, who can get further inside his or her own head and stay there longer than a writer.

I am guilty of this.

I seek out solitude to write. I need my own space, time, peace. That used to be easy. But these days, being a mom and wife, my time is filled with all sorts of activity and distractions. And achieving solitude is no longer a simple task. I’ve considered taking desperate measures such as locking myself in a closet to find a minute to write. It’s not exactly something I’m proud of but I’ve been known to mentally leave the room mid-conversation or physically go off and hide in the bathroom to quickly jot down notes in moments when inspiration strikes.

Of course I love spending time with my family and friends but, still, I try to make or find the time and peace and quiet to write whenever and however I can. It’s important to me since I need it to achieve my dreams.

But as creative as I can be when I’m alone and as tempting as it might be to stay hidden away in that quiet, creative place, I know that I can’t stay there forever. It’s obviously not healthy to be alone all the time or even most of the time. While we all need some semblance of peace and quiet to catch our breath, we also need direct (and indirect) contact with other people. Finding a healthy, happy balance can be a struggle for some of us.

It is for me.

While I love making new friends and being around people, I also long to be alone so that I can think and create and write. Until the words flow from my brain and onto the page, it can often feel like I am at war with myself. I need to crawl deep down into an almost meditative state to accomplish my goals, but I also need to stay healthy and that requires a level of human contact.

I hate to admit it but sometimes I have to force myself out of my head and out of my house in order to be physically around other people. In addition, I urge myself to occasionally pick up the phone and have real time conversations.

But when all else fails, I turn to my social network of choice: Facebook.

And, in addition to its obvious “social” benefits, I’ve discovered a whole new reason to love Facebook. When I’m stuck on an element of creativity or when my mind has come to a fork in the road or even a dead end, I can simply update my status to ask for help. Until recently, I had no idea it could be such an amazing brainstorming tool!

Earlier this year, I was struggling naming a new character so I posted a description. Within minutes, my Facebook friends were in a frenzy bouncing names back and forth. Some took it seriously while others were more playful, but all were helpful and inspiring in their own ways. Later, I posted that I needed a name for a fictional company. I got great responses for that, too.

When I worked in corporate events, I loved (most) meetings and, more specifically, brainstorming sessions. For one, they helped break up the day. But more importantly, I found that the act of getting people together around a great big table in a conference room was the best way to get and then expand upon some really awesome ideas. Sure, we’d all sometimes bitch and moan about being too busy for yet another meeting but those meetings were productive from a creative point of view. Even the conference calls had their high points, although those were much more challenging for me to pay attention.

These days, conference rooms and boardroom tables are practically obsolete. At least they are in my life. I’m sure companies still use them, but now social networking sites allow us the freedom to brainstorm with our friends, family and even folks we don’t know. It’s an easy, far more efficient and convenient way to get opinions and answers from a multitude of people, near and far, and way more than could possibly fit in an actual conference room or, for that matter, in my living room. Facebook makes it easy to gather my family, friends, acquaintances, work contacts, associates, former classmates and even my dentist all in the same “room” to simultaneously ask a question.

I like that.

And, with no boss looking over my shoulder, I can post any topic or question that strikes my fancy (and I can be pretty darn fancy), then go off and spend time with my daughter, take a walk, make a phone call, workout, bake, go shopping, have lunch or even take a nap while I wait for feedback. And it’s all-but guaranteed to eventually come. Even if half of my Facebook friends are busy elsewhere, there’s a good chance that the other half is itching to be involved. So now instead of getting reprimanded or risk being fired, the answers are simply waiting for me when I return. It’s brilliant!

I also like that I can sit in my PJs and call a meeting of the minds (as well as the wise asses) whenever I want. Morning, noon or even in the middle of the night, there are bound to be people ready and willing to join in and post their ideas or give me a swift kick in the tuchus with an inspirational quote or two when I need it most.

As the song goes, “That’s what (Facebook) friends are for!”

And, not to brag, but my Facebook friends are pretty amazing. Individually, they are some of the smartest, funniest, most creative, inspirational, talented, sincere, thoughtful, charismatic and just plain helpful people out there. Together, they are a brainstorming force to be reckoned with. And perhaps the coolest part is that they come from all aspects of my life: past and present.

Because of Facebook, I have received their combined assistance on many occasions. And for that, I am eternally grateful. In fact, I hope to someday include a special thank you message to all of my Facebook friends on a future acknowledgment page when I finally reach my goal and publish my first novel. Wouldn’t that be a great way to show them how much they’ve meant to me?

Of course, I’ll probably need more of their help to get there!

Mommy’s Law

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We’ve all heard about Murphy’s Law. Well, here’s some Mommy’s Law:

  1. The later mommy goes to sleep, the earlier baby will wake up.
  2. Baby will always get a rash, bruise, scratch or some other sort of unexplainable injury the night before a pediatric checkup.
  3. Guinness World Record breaking growth spurts are more likely to occur the night before any occasion for which a formal outfit and shoes have been selected and purchased for baby than any other day of the year.
  4. If mommy should happen to win either a date with daddy or a girls’ night out, the baby’s energy the following day will be multiplied by the quantity of glasses of wine mommy consumed the night before.
  5. The moment the house is finally clean, baby’s diaper will explode.
  6. If mommy buys a new dress, baby will immediately vomit all over it. If said dress or alternate article of newly purchased clothing happens to be white, baby will be sure to have consumed a full tummy’s worth of something in the darkest, most disgusting shade imaginable (strained peas, anyone?).
  7. When mommy decides to bring the stroller along, baby will want to walk. But when no stroller is available and mommy’s hands are full, baby will demand to be carried.
  8. Baby will happily show off clear pronunciation of all her new words and numbers behind closed doors but will only speak baby talk when others are around. If “others” should happen to include mommy’s in-laws, baby will jump at the opportunity to showcase her mastery of the letter “F” and attempt to rhyme everything with the word duck.
  9. The moment mommy brags about anything, baby will enforce a strict no bragging penalty (i.e., “My baby loves to eat her veggies!” Penalty = Baby will never eat anything green ever again)
  10. Baby will be an angel throughout the supermarket, enticing mommy to shop till she drops. But the moment mommy pulls her overflowing cart into the checkout line, baby will turn into a demon. The longer the line, the more head spinning action will ensue.

Happy mommying!

Just Another Day in Iowa

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The other day,  while on my way to meet up with my super-awesome sister-in-law, Randi, with plans to tag along with her and participate in my first ever cookie exchange, the strangest thing happened…

Well strange by my apparently somewhat sheltered city girl standards anyway.

I was alone in my car driving down (or would it have been up?) Highway 34 (just past 360th Street) toward Carson from Malvern when I saw something that seemed rather odd in the not-too-distant distance. While it didn’t appear to be a car or vehicle of any kind, I wasn’t quite sure at first what it was. But whatever it was, it was definitely in my lane and coming my way fast.

Thinking maybe it was just something or someone passing something or someone else, I looked to the left of it and in the other lane there was a caravan of vehicles all bunched up beside and behind it, moving slowly, sort of like a funeral procession. I was perplexed.

I glanced back and as it continued getting closer, I realized it was a horse.

A fucking horse!!

And (damn it) it was coming right at me! If having a horse galloping full-speed-ahead into the direction of my front bumper wasn’t bad enough already, no one was riding it. I didn’t know what to do. So I slowed down and eventually came to a complete stop right there in the middle of the road. Then I did what I think anyone in my position would have done: I closed my eyes and hoped for the best. And in the event that the horse had exceptional hearing or was taking subliminal requests, I whispered the words, “Please jump!”

When I opened my eyes, the horse was in the other lane passing me.

Feeling happy that it hadn’t actually attempted to jump over me, since in retrospect it may have miscalculated and crashed through my sunroof, I removed my foot from the brake and, with my heart still beating out of my chest, pressed gently on the gas pedal and speed dialed my husband.

He and I talked for a few minutes and I eventually calmed down as he casually said things like, “Welcome to Iowa.” After assuring him that I was indeed fine and so were the five dozen homemade baby cheesecakes I’d been transporting, I told him I loved him and hung up the phone.

But then, mere (not mare… get it?) minutes later, before I had the chance to fully relax, something else happened. I spotted deer (plural) darting across the road ahead of me.

I’m not going to lie. I was a bit startled by them at first, having heard horror stories about deer-in-headlights type accidents and having seen my fair share of Allstate Mayhem (I love that guy!) commercials. But still I felt confident that I could handle the situation. Shit, I’d just survived my first potential head on horse collision! Compared to that, this was just Bambi (or Bambis?).

Besides, I’d been warned about this. My husband and practically every other member of our family and close friends had been warning me since we moved here about the dangers of deer this time of year. And they taught (or at least told) me what to do if I happened to encounter one (or in this case, about eight or so).

No problem. I got this! After all, I’m an Iowan now. So I simply slowed down (again), put on my hazard lights this time, stayed as alert as possible and carefully watched back and forth from side to side for more deer. Easy-peasy.

It wasn’t scary. On the contrary, it was beautiful. What I got was the equivalent of a front row center seat as these delicate, majestic creatures jumped one by one clear across the road and darted off into a field. It was probably one of the coolest, most peaceful experiences I’ve ever had while driving.

Well… That was until I saw the white pickup truck coming from the opposite direction screech to an abrupt halt onto the side of the road. The truck had stopped so fast that I thought for a second that maybe it had hit one of the deer. Suddenly, I was concerned for the driver and any potential passengers, as well as the deer. But my concern quickly morphed into pure panic when two men in bright orange vests flung open the doors to the truck and jumped out wielding weapons. Before I could think or even blink, one of them ran into my lane, waved his gun in the air (like he just didn’t care) and immediately opened fire!

Are you effing kidding me, Iowa?

For the record, he missed. And for obvious reasons I’m totally relieved.

So we’re clear, I don’t stand on either side of the gun issue. Americans currently have the right to bear arms and, while I choose not to do so (and certainly not without the correct bra), I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s rights or strike up a debate. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of violence and I adore cute furry things with faces just as much as the next gal, but I also occasionally like to eat them. Sorry. And, that said, I’m grateful to farmers and hunters and all other people who get their hands dirty so that I don’t have to.

But even though I have no personal, political or moral dilemma or issue with hunters or guns, I’d prefer not being shot by one. So if you enjoy hunting and/or if you’re planning to shoot a gun for any reason, please spare me the details and (for the love of God) aim that thing away from my face.

This was not my first time in the presence of an overly anxious, obviously desperate dude with a gun. I don’t mean to brag, but when I was 17-years-old, I got held up at gun point. That’s right, bitches. I apologize; I’m not sure what just came over me. That bitches comment just felt right in the moment. Anyhoo, I was a freshman in college at the time, working the register at a Wawa (if you’re unfamiliar, it’s kind of like a 7-11 only better) in Philadelphia.

It was right smack in the middle of the day, during the dinner rush when a man pointed a gun at me and told me that if I gave him all the money in my drawer, then he wouldn’t shoot me in the face. Once I pushed past the panic and remembered how to open it, I gave him the entire drawer. It and the sum of its contents were not worth my face or my life.

In case you’re wondering, I did not see my life flash before my eyes that day, nor did I have any sort of out of body experience, probably because I had zero plans of losing my life that day over a drawer full of hoagie money. Nope. Not me. Sure, I was scared beyond comprehension. I was only 17. But I managed to refrain from passing out, throwing up or shitting my pants.

And despite my latest Iowa encounters with the runaway horse, deer and even the overzealous hunters, I did none of those things the other day either.

I admit that I briefly considered running over the dude with the gun just to teach him not to phuck with a Philly girl. But I quickly thought better of it. I know better than to antagonize an armed and possibly intoxicated a-hole.

So I opted instead to speed up and give him a friendly Iowa wave (and not just my favorite finger) as I passed him and his buddy as-quickly-as-possible. I needed to get on my way. Like I said, I had a cookie exchange to get to.