Friday, June 30, 2006


I AM: a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, an Aunt, a sister-in-law, a friend.

I SAID: all of the things to Teddy I was afraid to leave unsaid, even though he knew them already.

I WANT: for those I love to have lives filled with great blessings, good fortune, kindness, daily laughter, faith, warmth, comfort, grand successes, and everlasting love.

I NEED: for my family and friends to know I couldn’t survive without their unconditional love.

I WISH: I had more memories of Daddy. Since I was so young when he died, I’m sure most of my memories are really images I’ve made up to go with stories I’ve heard over the years.

I HATE: intolerance of any kind. I don’t understand why some people find it necessary to press their beliefs/biases/prejudices onto others.

I MISS: sailing: Thursday Night Races at Davis Island Yacht Club, crossing the Bay from Tampa to St. Pete, leisurely trips down the coast to Key West...I miss being on the water. Must be the Pisces in me.

I FEAR: lots of things, both silly and serious. Silly fears: spiders, grates in the sidewalks, swimming in lakes... Serious fears: something happening to my nieces and nephews, growing old alone, never becoming a mother.

I HEAR: the quiet in the cacophony; the noisy riot of the silence.

I WONDER: at how, right now, in the middle of childhood before life has a chance to tell them differently, the futures of my nieces and nephews are truly limitless.

I REGRET: several things in my past, and I’m sure I’ll regret several more things in my future. I think having regrets is the nature of life, but refusing to dwell on them is the nature of living.

I AM NOT: always as confident and self-assured as I think I am.

I DANCE: because Gloria Estefan was right, the rhythm is going to get you.

I SING: any and every where: loudly in my car with the top down, along to Muzak in the grocery store, in the shower (either ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ or ‘Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)’), in my office...

I AM NOT ALWAYS: the person my parents raised me to be.

I MAKE: a fantastic lemon cheesecake.

I WRITE: because I can’t not write.

I CONFUSE: the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect,’ especially if I’m talking/writing fast, and don’t slow down for a nano-second to concentrate. It’s frustrating since I really do know their correct usage.

I SHOULD: trust my instincts more often. Occasionally, I tend to doubt and debate myself, questioning my first inclination and ignoring my gut, sometimes to my dismay, but the times I trust myself, it’s usually the right decision.

I START: running the hot water at least 5 minutes before I step foot in the shower. I like the bathroom nice and steamy.

I FINISH: cards/letters by signing them ‘Love you, Ter,’ except Grandad’s. His letters get the full treatment: ‘I love you, always. Terri Lynn.’ With a few exceptions for friends, that side of the family are the only ones allowed to call me Terri Lynn.

I BELIEVE: pets should be a tax write off, Astroturf should be outlawed, everyone should work in retail and/or the service industry for at least a month, working on Friday should be optional, kissing makes the world go ‘round, chocolate is it’s own food group, Etta James’ version of ‘At Last’ is the most romantic song ever recorded, my beloved Chiefs will win a Super Bowl in my lifetime.

I KNOW: my decision to move to Denver is the right one.

I CAN: raise my left eyebrow, wiggle my right ear, curl my tongue, recite every line of several 80's movies: Class, Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles...

I CAN'T: raise my right eyebrow, wiggle my left ear, touch my nose with my tongue, understand Algebra...

I SEE: the bright side...most of the time.

I BLOG: to create a transcript of my life: a life of happiness, love, sadness, confusion, family, laughter, tears, beauty, fear, dishonesty, truth, comfort, understanding, silliness, learning, risk, boredom, fun, randomness, humor, spirituality, loneliness, dares, friendship, uncertainty, disappointment, triumph, survival, loyalty and strength.

I READ: the last page first. Well, ‘first’ isn’t technically accurate since I finish the first chapter, then flip to the back and read the final paragraph. I’ve no idea why or when I started doing it, but I’ve done it for as long as I can remember.

I AM AROUSED BY: intelligence, kindness, humor, humility, strength, trust, compassion, cuddles, honesty, flirting, romance, self-awareness, confidence, listening, communication, stability, unexpected kisses, understanding, mutual respect, broad shoulders and a great ass.

IT PISSES ME OFF: at work when my ideas, opinions, or instructions are discounted by some male contractors simply because I’m female, yet when my male engineer says the same thing, he’s never questioned.

I FIND: freedom, comfort and strength in the infinite support of my family and friends.

I LIKE: "...Pina Coladas, getting caught in the rain, making love at midnight in the dunes of the Cape..."

I LOVE: speeding down the highway with the top down, radio blaring, sun shining and the wind blowing through my hair.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Every little bit

I tease my sister all the time about being a pack rat. Our Grammie kept literally everything, so Kel's tendancy to hold onto things may not be entirely her fault, or so she has always said. This weekend as I started the pre-move chore of sorting junk-to-keep and junk-to-toss, I came to an unsettling realization: after years of giving my sister crap, I, too, am somewhat of a pack rat. Not that I've reached the pack rat levels of my sister or grandmother...I'm more of a pack mouse, if you will.

I have an old jewelry box my great grandfather made that is home to a plethora of items I deem worthy, but many would call junk: a plain white handkerchief of Grandad’s; a yellowing business card with Daddy's name and title embossed in navy blue; the tiny silver and turquoise ring Grammie gave me 25 years ago; the ticket stub from my first Chiefs game; a newspaper review of my first James Taylor concert; a short note of silliness from Dawn; my first driver’s license... Seemingly bits of nothing, but in reality they’re bits of me, bits of people, places and events that became a part of me. I was amazed by how each item brought it’s own vivid memory: Grandad giving me his handkerchief to wrap up a handful of shiny, polished rocks I thought were pretty; after Daddy died, sneaking a card out of his wallet because it had his handwriting on the back; playing dress up with Grammie's vast amounts of beautiful turquoise jewelry, handmade just for her; the crisp air on a gorgeous September day as I watched my first game at Arrowhead; hot, clear, impossibly starry summer night, good friends, and 'Fire and Rain;' sharing boyfriend woes over pitchers of cold beer and games of pool at Bryce’s; girlishly agonizing for days over what to wear for my license picture. I wonder though, without these reminders would the memories be as forthcoming? As strong? As detailed or complete? Maybe, maybe not, hard to say, which is why every little bit of nothing will remain tucked away in that old wooden box.

But how do you know when it's time to purge once treasured keepsakes? Occasionally I came across something and couldn’t remember why I had once thought it was important: a piece of blue ribbon, a metal Levi Strauss button, a strange doodle of what looks like a three headed goat, a matchbook from Thirsty’s with a phone number and "Beautiful girl, you stun me. Jay" written inside, a piece of blue pool cue chalk. Obviously these things were significant to me once, but I’ll be damned if I can remember any reasons now and I felt no guilt as I tossed them in the trash pile. But what about those links to old friends or long ago love? Like the box at the bottom of my armoire filled with Bobby F. memories? I haven’t opened it in years, but after we broke up, I lived inside that box: re-reading every card and letter, re-living special dates through matchbooks from our favorite places, re-animating moments frozen in a snapshot... It’s true: time does heal all wounds and the box was tucked away for good. Coming across it this weekend, I had to wonder, is it time to let it go all together? Perhaps. Would letting go of the tangible things dim the memories?

As I wondered what to do, I suddenly remembered the day I gave up my perfect blue bike and how hard it was to let it go. It didn’t matter that I was 19 and it was a child’s bike that hadn't been ridden in years; what did matter was how important that bike was to me, then and now. Kelly was 12 when she got her first ten-speed bike, and true to form, her old purple bike was handed down to me. New, it had a bright purple seat with sparkles in the vinyl, purple streamers on the handlebars and clean, white wall was gorgeous and I coveted it. Of course, when it finally became mine the seat was torn, the streamers were long gone and there was not a trace of white on the tires. Still, it was a bike and it was mine. I rode the hell out of it for several years. It didn't even matter when the seat started falling off at random.

Around my 10th birthday, Daddy promised he’d buy a new seat and fix it for good. One evening he came home and told me he needed help getting the seat out of the truck. I remember grumbling to myself that it was only a bike seat, what kind of help did he really need. As soon as I opened the front door, I saw him and mom standing in the driveway with a brand new bike! The body was pale blue and the white seat had a vivid orange swoosh on it. I loved it! I loved that it was blue, that it was new, that it was all mine, and most of all, I loved that they had made it a surprise. It was perfect and I just knew that summer would be the best ever. I had no way of knowing how very wrong I would be - that was the summer Daddy died. After he was gone, I was too young to understand or describe it, but my perfect blue bike felt like my last link to him.
A million things happened over the next few years and eventually, I outgrew my perfect blue bike and it was delegated to a space over the basement stairs. Fast forward nine years to the day Teddy was cleaning out the garage. He saw me watching him wheel it out the door and he jokingly asked if I wanted to take it for one more spin. I tried to laugh but a sob came out instead as I tried to explain. Mom came over and said "Honey, wait, not that; that’s Terri’s bike." I’m not sure he understood until she said, "Her father bought it for her." He simply nodded, set the kick stand and squeezed my hand as he passed on his way into the house. Alone, I sat next to my perfect blue bike for a while and let myself remember. Remember the endless summer rides all over the neighborhood with Tina; remember the day it was stolen and I was inconsolable until it mysteriously appeared the next day; the one and only time I ever rode it no-handed; the challenge of riding the aptly named Dolly Parton hills. But mostly I remembered the day Daddy brought it home: his rich laugh, his mischievous wink to mom, the absolute delight he got out of surprising one of his girls. Sitting there with tears in my eyes, I let go of my perfect blue bike.

I learned several things about life that day, things to keep in mind over the next few weeks as I pack up my life: first, no matter how closely you associate an object with a memory, the memory can stand alone; second, it's natural for the things we view as significant at one point of our life to become less so as we change; third, purging the past is a necessary part of new beginnings; and finally, letting go doesn't mean forgetting.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hi, I'm kcterrilynn and I'm a blog slacker

There is no excuse for my slacker-ness. I heartily apologize for not updating sooner.

I got back Tuesday night from my latest trip to Denver. My goal was to find a job and an apartment. I found one (an apartment) but not the other (job). Not to worry, I'm sure it'll come around. It's looking like I'll be making the move in early/mid August. Sweet Jesus, that's coming up fast isn't it? Lordy!!

I spent the weekend camping. Yes, you read that right. Camping. My pampered ass slept on the ground. In a tent. To quote the Gilligan's Island song: no phones, no lights, no motor cars, not a single luxury. Actually, it wasn't as bad as it could've been. The setting was gorgeous; we were about 2 hours south of Colorado Springs at 9200 feet, staring right at the Continental Divide. Unbelievable scenery. The company could've been better, but the view was worth it.

My return flight was a fuckin' nightmare. I had Conner and Cole sitting behind me. (I only know their names because every five seconds it was Cole this! or Conner that!) Cute kids, but Christ on a cracker, if ConnerCole kicked my seat one more time or whined because they couldn't watch their DVD during take-off, I wasn't going to be held responsible. It was the longest hour and ten minute flight on record. About 4o minutes in I was wishing for a couple of Benadryl to spike their orange juice with, you know? There should be kid flights and non-kid flights.

Once back in KC, it took another 40 minutes for the parking shuttle to show up. It was almost 10:30pm when I finally got to my car. Driving home, my life flashed before my eyes. I'm not kidding. Fucking road construction that's been going on for close to 6 years on one stretch of highway. I was cruising along, top down, radio blaring and out of no where, there are brake lights in front of me. I was going close to 70 mph and stood on my brakes. There was no where for me to go, traffic in the left lane, concrete barricades on my right, and an F-250 bearing down from behind. Over the radio, I heard my own tires squealing as I came to a stop. Then all I could do was watch the headlights of the truck behind me get closer and closer. Thankfully, he stopped in time and everything ended up being okay. Eventually, traffic cleared in the left lane and I was able to go around a disabled van. I swear, my heart beat didn't return to normal for the better part of 10 minutes. Seriously, what jackass decided it was a good idea to have two lanes of highway sandwiched in between concrete barriers that leaves no room to get the fuck out of the way?! Needless to say, I was more than ready to pour a glass (or two) of my favorite Pinot I left chilling in the 'fridge before I left town.

Now it's back to real life...bummer.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


On my way into work this morning I heard the song "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon & Garfunkel. As I was singing along, the following lyric stopped me in my tracks and I started to ponder...

"Hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes
Put it in your pantry with your cupcakes
It's a little secret, just the Robinsons' affair
Most of all, you've got to hide it from the kids"
Okay, so you all know what happens when I start to let's think about this for a second: if you're hiding something from the kids, wouldn't a pantry with cupcakes be the LAST place to put it? And really, a pantry of cupcakes as a place where no one ever goes? Seriously? Not in my world. Of course people go there! That's where the cupcakes are! Now a pantry full of pickled pig parts? That'd be a different song all together.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Sabotage (sb-täzh) n. 1. Destruction of property or obstruction of normal operations, as by civilians or enemy agents in time of war. 2. Treacherous action to defeat or hinder a cause or an endeavor; deliberate subversion.

Friday, June 09, 2006

From him to her: a late night jukebox serenade

Everything is quiet
Since you're not around
And I live in the numbness now
In the background
Then you come swimming into view
I only feel for you
I only know because I carry you around
In the background...
"In the Background"
Third Eye Blind
Show me what it’s like
To be the last one standing
And teach me wrong from right
And I’ll show you what I can be
And say it for me
Say it to me
And I’ll leave this life behind me
Say it if it’s worth savin' me
"Savin' Me"
You're feeling just like a fool
You keep staring into your liquor
Wondering what to do...
You're drinking whisky when it should be wine
You keep looking into that mirror
But to me you're looking really fine
...I don't hardly know you
But I'd be willing to show you
I know a way to make you
Laugh at that cowgirl as she's walking out your door
I know a way to make you smile
Just let me whisper things you've never heard before
Just let me touch you, baby
Just let me touch you for a while...
"Let Me Touch You for a While"
Alison Krauss and Union Station

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

WWJD: What Would Julia Do?

Julia Sugarbaker is a hero of mine. The fact that she's fictional and only existed on a TV sitcom that ended over 10 years ago makes absolutely no difference to me. Designing Women aired during my late teens and from the start, I worshiped everything about Julia. She was sass, smarts and sarcasm. She was strength, spunk and savvy. And I wanted to be just like her. When someone underestimated her, usually mistaking her Southern charm for stupidity or her femininity for weakness, she never hesitated to set them straight. I envied the way she could speak her mind with sweet sarcasm as she put someone in their place, subtlety insult their intelligence and get her point across, simultaneously. Pure genius as far as I’m concerned.

The other day at lunch, while discussing the differences between men and women, I could’ve used a Julia Sugarbaker inspired response for my chauvinistic guy friends. Even without it, I managed to I hold my own, even if I lacked Julia’s finesse. Later, going over the discussion in my head, I started thinking of my all-time favorite Julia rant. While on a ski trip, the four couples get snowed in at their condo, nerves are starting to fray and the conversation, inevitably, turns to men and women. Mary Jo’s boyfriend, J.D., says something and whoo-boy...Julia just let loose with a great rebuttal. Game on!! It remains one of my favorite TV moments. After the original episode, I waited and waited for it to re-air. When it did, I recorded it and transcribed her speech (lame, yes, but in my defense I was about 15) verbatim. Eventually, it ended up stashed in a box of cards, letters and high school English essays, utterly forgotten until a few days ago when I pulled the box from under the bed to sort through it. Years later, I still love it. (Maybe I'll email it to the two Neanderthals I lunched with last week.) Anyway, I thought I’d share...

J.D.: "...yeah, well, there’s a gender war going on out there and you women started it!"

Julia: "Oh no we did not, but that’s a typical male attitude! Now the truth is, is that we women haven’t had enough power or money or confidence to start much of anything, but we sure as hell get the blame for everything. And I’ll tell you something else...I love men; I love this one (points to Reese) but you cannot ignore history. And history has shown, in general, it has been the men who have done the rapin’ and the robbin’ and the killin’ and the warmongerin’ for the past 2,000 years. It has been the men who have done the pillaging, the beheading and the subjugating of whole races into slavery. It has been the men who have done the law making, the money making and most of the mischief if the world isn’t quite what you had in mind, you only have yourselves to thank!!"

And that’s why Julia Sugarbaker will always be a hero of mine. You go, girl!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

An old favorite...

Whether it's the original version by Ani DiFranco or this remake by Alana Davis, "32 Flavors" remains one of my favorite songs. I love the sass of the lyrics:

...And god help you if you are an ugly girl
Cause too pretty is also your doom
Cuz everyone harbors a secret hatred
For the prettiest girl in the room
And god help you if you are a phoenix
And you dare to rise up from the ash
A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
While you are just flying past...

I never tried to give my life meaning
By demeaning you
And I would like to state for the record
I did everything that I could do
I'm not saying that i'm a saint
I just don't want to live that way
No, I will never be a saint
But I will always say

Squint your eyes and look closer
I'm not between you and your ambition
I am a poster girl with no poster
I am thirty-two flavors and then some
And I'm beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head
Cuz someday you might find you're starving
And eating all of the words you said

I am thirty-two flavors and then some
And I'm beyond your peripheral vision
So you might want to turn your head...

Everybody should have a 32 flavors and then some attitude about themselves once in a while..,

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Five years later...

May 31, 2001 was a Thursday. A Thursday that didn’t start off any differently than any Thursday had in the previous two months. Alarm, snooze, alarm, shower, breakfast, office. It was just another day, another day of knowing the cancer was terminal, another day supporting Teddy’s decision not to continue with treatment, another day of silently ranting at the unfairness of it all, but most of all, it was another day my dad was alive.

I don’t remember much about the morning, to tell the truth, but in the early afternoon, I started feeling...something...something I still can’t describe. Something that was a combination of anxiety, fear, sadness, unease, and dread in the pit of my stomach. I remember I was listening to my new Mary Chapin Carpenter CD and the song “10,000 Miles” started playing.

Fare thee well
My own true love
Farewell for a while
I’m going away
but I’ll be back...

And I started to cry. I took the sick feeling in my stomach combined with the song as a sign that Teddy had died. With trembling fingers and a heavy heart, I called my mom. She assured me everything was okay; he was sleeping and the Hospice nurse was due any minute. Even knowing that, I still couldn’t shake that something I was feeling.

Unlocking the door at home, I could hear the phone ringing inside. I managed to grab it before the machine kicked on and I heard mom’s voice. I heard the words she was saying but my mind was struggling to make them make sense. “The nurse said he most likely will not survive through the weekend...” She said a few other things, but I was still stuck on that sentence. I told her I’d be there in 10 minutes. I threw some things in an overnight bag, including my favorite picture of Teddy and me and a letter he had written to me years before, and headed to my parent’s house.

When I got there, Mom, Bradley, Kyle, Kelly and Aunt Claudia had already circled around his bed. My oldest brother, Brad, moved over to make room for me and held my hand as I cried. It was a long hard night. Even though our sadness was palpable, there was also an overwhelming sense of family and love with us as well. May 31, 2001 may have started like any other day, but it ended with all of us at Teddy’s side. It was just after 3am Friday morning when my dad died. And it was obvious that from that moment on, June 1st could never be just another day.