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Stuttering Shell: May 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

southbound & thankful.

i have been looking forward to getting away for a long time.

seriously, this has been the longest week ever.  but, working ten hour days will do that.

i hope that you all have a very happy & safe memorial day weekend.  remember that it isn't all about cookouts, flip flops & having monday off.  take the time to remember the very brave & honorable service men & women who have fought for our freedom and continue to do so each and every day.

i know i am grateful.  grateful & very thankful.

{all pictures are from our travels to hatteras island & ocracoke island, north carolina}

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

then & now.

{frisco then. august 2009.}

{frisco now. may 2010.}

he's dropping fur all over the house.  he is king of the s.b.d.*  he likes to snack on baby carrots.  he scratches on my back when he wants under the covers.  he loves to play with ziggy, one of our kitties.  he gives kisses every chance he gets. 

he gave us quite a scare.  but he's healthy.  he's quick.  he's a snuggler.  he's a lover.  he's our buddy.  he keeps us on our toes.  he keeps us happy. 

we were once a three cat family.  now we're a three cat family plus one dog.

*silent, but deadly toots...boy, oh, boy are they stanky!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

the sound of the sea soothes me.

{my loves. sound side. hatteras island. summer 2009.}

{coquina in hand. ocracoke island. summer 2009.}

{wee lil' hermit crabs. can you see them?}

{teeny hermie in hand.}

{heaven on earth. ocracoke island. summer 2009.}

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

ain't that the truth.

 {the truth was found here}
i've got the credit card debt & a house full of shit to prove it.

i'm not saying i have messy things or live in a dump.  i mean, i spent my money on things that i wanted, not what i needed.  ya dig?

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Friday, May 21, 2010


The It's Friday, I'm In Love Series

{play along, please! visit summer's blog for the 'it's friday, i'm in love' series.}

i've been dark & twisty meredith grey {and, no, i haven't watched the season finale yet. twitter just about killed me with the spoiler alerts. i kinda gave up on the season early on, but i guess i need to get caught up and watch it. but, i digress...}.

dark & twisty isn't much fun.  especially because dark & twisty likes to sneak up on you and then wallop you over the head.  seriously.  have you ever noticed how fast a bad mood comes on?  pretty scary stuff.

{spooky pic, huh? i found it here.}

dark & twisty.  that's been my thing for a while.  a long while.  it's going to take time.  there's gonna be one hell of a healing process.  the uncertainty.  the worry.  asking why & what if.

i've got to move on.  i owe it to myself because, while i might own sixty gazillion black shirts, dark & twisty just isn't my thing.  no sir.  especially not when i have so much to be thankful for, so much to look forward to and so much to be proud of.
{saying found here}

so what am i in lve with this friday?

lots of things.

my man.  my hard, hard, HARD working man.
my kiddos.
my kitty cats.
my pup.
my dirty, squeaky car.
the roof over my head.
a full belly.
clean water to drink & hot water to bathe in.
this computer.
internet access.
my blog.  without it, i would have never 'met' you.
my job. it's not what i really want to be doing, but it's paying the bills.
the fact that we've knocked down our credit card debt by two-thirds in 3.5 years.
vanilla bean ice cream with mini semi-sweet chocolate chips sprinkled on top.
pedicured toes.
freshly colored hair {i've got gray, y'all}.

there's a lot to be thankful for, but i'm especially thankful, grateful and oh, so in lve with the fact that i've got hope.

{the inspiration is from here}

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two desires.

i have two desires - one is bigger {much bigger} than the other.

desire #1 {the really big one}:  i would really, really, really like to go back to school.  i've been tossing around the idea for a while now.  do i finally complete the masters in elementary education that i started years ago?  do i go to school for something - graphics, business administration, ? - to make myself more marketable at my current job?  or, {the prospect of this is the most meaningful & exciting to me} do i further my geographic education & work on a masters in that field or a closely related one? 
decisions, decisions. 
the really crummy thing about fulfilling my desire of going back to school for geography is that there are no universities in my area that offer anything geography-related at the graduate level.  not. one. school.

but, if anyone finds a program in my area or something in a similarly related field/discipline, please let me know.*

desire #2:  this isn't nearly as stressful or time consuming as my first desire.  i just need to entertain that creative outlet in me that has been neglected for far too long.  i also need to do something with all of the seashells i've collected along the way.  i have two 5-gallon buckets full of shells.  some whole.  some not.  some big...very big.  some not. 

wreaths.  jewelry.  picture frames.  art. 
whatever they end up being, they will be beautiful.

what are some of your desires?

{both pictures are from weit - which has become my latest obsession...or at least it seems that way}

*i think i found what i've been looking for and i am excited.  i have two programs to choose from - one local, one online.  i have two professors to meet & chat with - both local.  and, i have dreams of eventually uprooting my family out of our "not-so-comfort zone" {because, let's face it, there's just too much bad ju-ju here with all that has gone on} and moving to a town with a university that will allow me to achieve a masters degree in geography that i want so badly.  like my friend, john, said to me, "never rule anything out."

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

change something.


that's what i'm going to do.

it's not going to happen overnight.  it's going to take a lot of work.

and, it's going to start with me doing what i love & loving what i'm doing.

i'll elaborate more when the time is right.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"mom, i know where boston is."

"really?  where?"

and, with a very 'matter of fact' look on his face, aidan replies, "pennsylvania."

i remember growing up that my parents kept an atlas in the living room.  we had a globe, too.  i looked at both the atlas & the globe all. the. time.  {interestingly enough, i graduated from college with a bachelor of arts degree in geography.}   

i think it's time that i keep an atlas on our coffee table.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

so true.



Monday, May 17, 2010

dreaming of the seashore.

soon, adam & i will pitch a tent...

park the truck here...

and enjoy a view like this...

{the pictures are all from our adventure on ocracoke island last year}

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Sunday, May 16, 2010


a few weekend's ago i decided to drive my kids by the house i grew up in.  we moved in when i was just eight years old.  i was barely in my twenties & in college when we moved out.

the magnolia tree my daddy planted was gone.  the shutters & front door were painted a different color from what i remember them being.  the lawn was definitely not the green carpet of bermuda grass my mother painstakingly cared for.  but it was still home.  my old home. 

i wanted to stop & take a picture, but i thought it might be a bit awkward considering the current owners were in the front yard.

the kids knew bits & pieces about how and why my family came to virginia.  as we drove by, malia asked me, "mom, did you guys move because cesar chavez didn't want the migrant workers to pick anymore grapes?"

i shot her a bizarre look in the rear-view mirror and replied, "no, the navy brought us here."

{at least i know malia is paying attention in school...thank you, mrs. r & mrs. h!}

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Friday, May 14, 2010

even better than free.


'free' by zac brown band.

accompanied by jimmy buffett.

mixed with van morrison's 'into the mystic.'

lve, lve, lve.

this song makes me happy, too.  can you tell?

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

you & me.

this song makes me very happy.
very, very happy.
and happy is very important right now.

want to pack your bags
something small
take what you need
and we'll disappear without a trace
we'll be gone gone
moon and the stars will follow the car
then when we get to the ocean
gonna take a boat to the end of the world
all the way to the end of the world
oh and when the kids are old enough
we're gonna teach them to fly

you & me together
we can do anything baby
you & me together yes yes
the two of us together
we can do anything baby
you & me together yes yes

you & i we're not tied to the ground
not falling but rising
like rolling around
eyes closed above the rooftops
eyes closed
we're gonna spin through the stars
our arms wide as the sky
we're gonna ride the blue all the way to the end of the world
all the way to the end of the world
oh and when the kids are old enough
we're gonna teach the to fly

you & me together
we can do anything baby
you & me together yes yes
the two of us together
we can do anything baby
you & me together yes yes

we can always look back at what we did
always the memory of you & me baby
but right now it's you & me forever girl
you know we can do better than anything that we did
you know that you & me we can do anything

you & me together
we can do anything baby
you & me together yes yes
the two of us

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Monday, May 10, 2010

a couple things.

i've decided not to go private after all.

i'm feeling a bit better than i did a few nights ago.


Sunday, May 9, 2010


as i am typing this, my oldest child is carrying more dirty laundry to the washing machine {for me to wash}, my husband is at work {thank goodness it's double time!} & my youngest child just asked me to make him breakfast in bed.

soon, the kids & i will make a trip to super wal-mart to do a little grocery shopping.  and, maybe...just maybe...there will be a side trip to target.

so it's not flowers & a pancake breakfast.  so it's not a 'day off' from the usual weekend chores.  so it's not perfect.  it's still my day.  my day.  your day.  our day.

happy mother's day!


Friday, May 7, 2010


{us. playa del carmen, mexico. september 2008.}

blue collar.  hard working.  honest. 

making ends meet.  paying off debt.  surviving.

loved.  disliked.  indifferent {sometimes}.

loyal.  faithful.  best friends.

open-minded.  learning from past mistakes.  living life with no regrets.

parents.  son.  daughter.

not entirely sure where the path of our lives will take us, but we're absolutely certain that we'll survive.  be strong.  and benefit from all that the Lord provides for us. 


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letting off some steam.

disclaimer:  this is long & whiny.  read at your own risk.  you'll see the eff word.  i don't care if you're offended.  this is my pity party.  not yours.  neener, neener, neener!

i woke up this morning & read the riot act to everyone who crossed my path - adam, the kids, the dog.  the cats were spared {they were already outside}. 

it was just an overall bad morning.  a bad morning that had been building for days.  something is going on and it's just been bubbling up festering inside of me.  my unpleasant demeanor as of late closely resembles the "me" that i was not long ago when i was working with my husband:  stressed.  tired.  depressed {this is quite the possibly my problem, period}. 

adam's been short lately, too.  more than likely, his snippy 'tude is due to my "i just don't give a fuck" attitude.  and, quite frankly, i really just don't give a fuck.

don't get me wrong...i love my kids.  i love myself.  i love my husband.  i just don't like him very much right now.  no reason, i just don't.  and, it's okay for me to say that.  {ha. how funny is it that i have a 'sweet' blog post about us - adam & i - scheduled for tomorrow?!}

i've been doing lots of thinking lately.  random, a.d.d. kind of thinking.  one minute i'm here.  one minute i'm there.  i'll be thirty-three this year and i can honestly say that i did not picture my life turning out the way that it has. 

i really don't live with any regrets; however, if there was some way for me to erase the last two years, i would.  you know the trick where someone pulls a table cloth off the table without disturbing everything that's on the table? good.  well, you know how if the trick gets botched {i.e., the table cloth isn't pulled fast enough} everything on the table comes crashing down?  that's me & how i'm feeling.  except, in my case, the table cloth was completely pulled out and everything still came tumbling down.

{did i lose you?}

i try to focus on the positives.  i do.  i have awesome kids.  i have an honest, hard-working husband.  i have a family that loves me dearly.  i am healthy.  i am working.  i have a home.  i have friends i can turn to.  i have the Lord. 

but, the buts...oh, the buts...why am i still sad?  why am i unhappy?  is it, like my sweet pal, gussy, says, the d?  {um, that would be the debbil.}  maybe.  maybe it is.  no, i know it is.  i know for a fact that, in some ways, it is.  why?  because...well, i just know.  but - here we go again with those buts - it's mostly just me.  i'm my own reason for my unhappiness.


i, i don't think...i KNOW that i am not satisfied with where i am currently in my life.  i'm lost.  i really am.  still aimlessly wandering. 

did you know that i have yet to complete the masters in elementary education degree i started four years ago?  i want to finish the degree, but because i dropped out of school, i pretty much forfeited my graduate school career and sent my grades straight down the shitter.  in my defense, however, making sure my momma survived her battle with breast cancer was more important to me than earning another degree.  and, now that i am feeling the urge to return to school, i don't think i want to be a teacher anymore. oy.

did you know that money is a big stressor in my life?  it is.  there's never going to be enough of it, but when your family's income is cut by more than half there's really never going to be enough.  throw in the fact that we have a shit ton of debt and, well, no wonder i have gray roots!  we are not rich by any stretch of the imagination.  paycheck to paycheck is where it's at.  but, on a good note {hooray}, we've reduced our total debt {credit cards} by a little more than half in the four years we've been tackling them.  four years.  oy.

did you know that my husband was betrayed by his own father?  well, he has.  you don't know how my husband has been hurt by his own father {well, some of you do}.  it's not good.  i'd say more, but my father-in-law reads my blog {which is why i am tinkering with the idea of going private} and he would try to use this against me if he could.  but, he can't because i didn't say who, what, when, where, why or there.

did you know that while i may have a job, i just don't envision it as a career?  isn't that funny...because not long ago i was gushing about how happy i was.  i mean, i'm still happy with my job.  i just want more.  which is probably why i'm thinking about school again.  i don't have a career like some of y'all do {have you seen my resume?}.  but, maybe there is a reason for all of this.  maybe i'm wanting things to happen too soon.  or, maybe it's like my sister family is my career. 

did you know that i feel very inadequate, less than stellar, second-class and/or not worthy at times?  i do.  i've never been "the cool kid" or part of "the 'in' crowd."  but, it's not just that.  i just feel different at times.  judged.  dissected.  cast off.  alone.

there's a lot going on in this head of mine, isn't there?


if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  and this momma needs to be happy.


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Thursday, May 6, 2010

there was an article in the l.a. times recently that caught my eye: 

i'm sorry, what?

no, no...really.  the first paragraph of the article reads:

One need only look at the recent introduction of chocolate Cheerios to fully grasp Americans' fondness for the pulp from cacao beans. Savoring chocolate is normal.

But, researchers said Monday, overindulging in it could be a marker for depression.

that makes me sad {pun intended?}.  it truly does.

i don't know whether to be depressed about the large bowl of chocolate ice cream laced with crushed up pieces of chocolate-covered pretzels i ate while typing this OR the fact that we have not one, but THREE boxes of Chocolate Cheerios in our pantry.

yep.  three boxes.

no wonder i can't get out of bed in the morning.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

may 4, 1972

thirty-eight years ago a boy from mississippi married a girl from hong kong.  

this is their legacy:

{us.  july 2009.  cilleyville bog bridge.  andover, nh.}

happy 38th wedding anniversary, mom & dad.  i love you so very much.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

the eighties.

the chitter-chatter was non-stop as the kids & i drove north to my parents' house last friday evening.  as soon as one child stopped talking, the other would pick right up.  in usual road trip fashion, the topics of discussion ranged from inquisitive to just plain silly.  this, i believe, would classify as silly.


maliamom, are you glad we weren't born in the 80s?

mehuh?  what do you mean?  {because did my child not realize that i was HER age in the 80s...yes and no, i suppose...}

maliaus.  born in the 80s.  we weren't, but aren't you glad we weren't?

aidanyeah, the 80s were crazy.

maliayou know, mom...the 80s.  the hippies.  the peace signs.  the blow outs*.

mesweetie, hippies & peace signs were from the 60s.  and, what are blow outs*?

malia & aidanoh.  *giggle, giggle* 

how funny that my children think of the 1980s as an era equivalent to the 1960s.  i suppose - in their eyes - they are validated to have such a judgment because, after all, the 1980s were twenty years {or more} before their time.  it just makes me laugh...

*as for the blow outs, our kids watch re-runs of full house & malia was referring to the episode in which d.j. gets a job so she can afford a pair of "really rad" sneakers called "blow outs" that inhale & exhale as you walk {just as i typed that i had flashbacks to my very own pair of reebok pumps.  ha ha ha ha!}.


going private.

i've been thinking about this for a long time & i've decided to make my blog private.

the switch will happen by the weekend.  that means, if you wish to continue reading my blog, you'll need to be an invited reader.  blogger only allows a private blog to have 100 readers.  that kind of sucks.  but, this is the right thing for me to do at the moment considering there are people i'd rather not have reading my blog.

if you'd like an invite, please email me at:

shell {at} stutteringshell {dot} com

unless you have a suggestion on how i can have more readers and a private blog {jump ship to wordpress?} or a way to block certain people all together {which i think is next to impossible without going private}.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010


richmond international raceway - that's where i am today.

eating burgers, drinking bud light, playing corn hole.

soaking up the warm sun, laughing with friends, peeing in a porta-potty {ew}.

tailgating. talking smack. making bets on who will rule the short track.

i hope it's this guy:


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