Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the dark side.

Recently I was at my parents' house texting in T9-word on my Verizon LG Accolade when my 64-year old mother, with disgust and laughter in her voice, said, "I can't believe you still have a flip phone."

"Mom, you have a flip phone," I shot back.

"I know," she said, "But I'm 64."


This little exchange was the last straw in what had become a years-long public shaming I'd suffered over not having an iPhone.  Feeling as though I could take no more, when the opportunity to upgrade came a few months early, I ventured to the Apple dark side and am now the owner of an iPhone.

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"I feel dirty," I told Funeral Guy when I ordered the phone last week.

"Why do you feel dirty?" he said.  I could almost hear him laughing and see him rolling his eyes and shaking his head at my dramatics. 

"Because," I wrote back, "Now I'm just like everyone else."

For a while, the flip phone was a choice I made for me.  I have a Blackberry for work, so paying extra to have two smart phones seemed a bit excessive.  Plus the flip phone was comfortable and familiar.  And tiny.  And hanging up on someone could be done so in dramatic style, by clapping the sides of the phone together.

When people teased me about it, I laughed along with them, still feeling confident in my reasons for keeping the old phone around.  I am my own person.  I do not do what everyone else is doing just because it's popular.  Electronics are not my thing.  I prefer to spend my money on trips.  And jeans. 

But just like those who find their identity in always having the latest and greatest gadgets, it started becoming clear that I'd established part of my identity in resisting what seemingly everyone in my life had happily and enthusiastically adopted. I was holding on to the flip phone for all the wrong reasons - to be different and to spite everyone else.

I started to notice that having an archaic phone had become to some people, the most hilarious thing about me. And I'd like to think I'm funnier than a flip phone.

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At around 10:15pm last night, I bid my flip phone a fond farewell, and became an "iPhone person" - whatever that means.

Some of those same iPhone owners who have relentlessly made fun of me for not having one are the same people who can't have a normal conversation without also letting everyone know via Twitter or Facebook that it happened.  I sincerely hope that owning an iPhone won't automatically turn me into one of those people, but I have had it for less than 12 hours and I'm already having fun playing on it and figuring out all that it does.

As God is my witness, though, I will never ridicule those without smart phones the way others have ridiculed me.

Contrary to popular iPhoners' beliefs, I do know what popular apps like Instagram and Words with Friends are. I even know how to use them! I'm "stephgalls" on both, so please connect with me. But I am in need of help when it comes to other apps, so if there are any that you love, please share them with me.

And friends, call or text me because most of my contacts didn't transfer.

Happy iPhoning! Or flip phoning!  Or non-phoning!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

the ranch, part two.

This should be a Thanksgiving post.

I mean, I'm posting it on Thanksgiving, but it will not contain all of the warm and fuzziness that it probably should.  I mean, it is every Blogger/Facebooker/Twitterer's duty to post things that they're thankful for each day of November, declare how blessed they are, or at the very least post pictures from a pumpkin patch or an apple orchard, right?

This is not a typical Thanksgiving post, but not because I am not thankful or because I don't realize how completely blessed my life is.  There were challenges, but I can say for certain that expressing gratitude feels much easier to do this year than it did last year and for that I am immensely thankful.

So while this isn't a typical holiday post, it is inspired by something for which I am grateful - my trip to California and my time at the Los Laureles Lodge, aka the ranch.  In the spirit of Thanksgiving and with the hope of finishing writing about Elizabeth's August wedding before the new year, it's back to the ranch we go.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that we woke up after the beach bonfire with a whole slew of stories from the night before.  Some things - like the cab driver's roll call - I didn't even know happened until the next morning. I must've really been into the sing-along because I also missed guests over-pouring their wine glasses in the dark, or guests (ahem, my friends) falling in the sand and flopping around like seals.

Wedding stories - just another reason to be thankful.

While our rooms at the Ranch were stocked full of Sun Chips and muffins from our late-night grocery run, a proper lunch that allowed us to maximize our time in the beautiful scenery as well as rehash all of the evening's transgressions was a definite priority.  We opted to drive south to Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur to enjoy magnificent Pacific Ocean views from their treehouse-esque deck.


Only, once again, visibility was non-existent.  We sat outside and crossed our fingers that the fog would eventually lift, but it never did. The place was cool and happening, though ,and our waiter was friendly (until we asked him if we could pay the bill with more than one credit card.  I honestly thought his head might explode.), so we were happy.    


We shared a lot of laughs about the previous night's debauchery, ate some good food, and most importantly, drank some tasty drinks (read: hair of the dog) of the Bloody Mary and Moscow Mule variety. 

After lunch and our drive back to Carmel that included stops for scenic photos and an errand run to CVS (where there was booze for sale. At a CVS!  Right next to the disposable razors!  Again, THANKFUL.), there wasn't a lot of time to do much more than welcome new friends (aka new campers) who had just arrived and get ready for the rehearsal party.


Despite the fact that her wedding was a destination variety for many of her guests, her wedding still had many guests.  Most everyone who was invited to the wedding was also invited to the rehearsal, so family, childhood friends, college friends, San Francisco friends were all on hand to toast the happy couple.

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The stories were plentiful and varied from humorous to extremely heartfelt.

Greg even wrote a poem.
IMG_4195 I went into my remarks with a, "Make them laugh, make them cry, try not to embarrass yourself or anyone else," mentality. I thought my toast hit on all the appropriate emotions. I even had a woman I did not know come up to me and tell me later that she loved what I had to say.

I'm worried she might've been the only one, though, because just last week one of my girlfriends asked me, "Wasn't it you who brought up all of Elizabeth's ex-boyfriends during your speech at the rehearsal dinner?"

"Um, no," I told her defensively, "I did not."

It was just one.  And I never named him.  And I only used this story to make a point.

Elizabeth and I really didn't know each other that well when we decided to be roommates our last semester at Georgia, which was fine, except for the fact that Elizabeth and her boyfriend broke up days before I moved in.  So while I was pumped to get to know a new, fun girl and make her my friend, she was not really in that mindset. She was in a bad, emotionally low place. 

We laugh about that time now and how we healed her broken heart with Ben & Jerry's, American Idol and the Anna Nicole Smith show.

After she moved away to California, it seemed our visits always occurred during really low lows in my life or really high highs.  The way we met seemed to follow our friendship.  The first time I went to visit her in San Francisco, I'd just ended a four year relationship. Then I whisked into town giddy on romance with Mountain Man.  When that went nowhere, I returned to the west coast for reality television and Elizabeth-time.  
 Our visits are less dramatic than they used to be - and I couldn't be more thankful.

And though I'm embarrassed it took me 32 years to figure it out - watching Elizabeth and Kristof work so easily together, and exists so happily as a couple without the drama that so many of us (me) had confused for true romantic love, it occurred to me that real love isn't cobbled together by a string of highs and lows.


The day-to-day comfort of knowing someone who wants the same out of life that you do, who has your back and will make you laugh and builds you up - that's what solid relationships are all about. It might not make for a Hollywood film or a good romance novel, but off the emotional roller coaster seems to be where all the good stuff happens.

Right in the middle. 

Then again, good stuff also happens at an out of town rehearsal dinner where the wine flows easily.

Considering the groom split his pants before the party even started - (I love you, Kristof!) - I shouldn't have been too surprised that after several (se-ver-al) glasses of wine, and a couple dozen toasts, guests started falling again. Into fountains. And bushes.

There may or may not have been some indecent exposure, and I'm not talking about Kristof.

I'm sure all of the California crowd was looking at us, shaking their heads and thinking, "Who are these Georgia rednecks?"

Country had certainly come to town. And everyone (well, most everyone) was grateful.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I can't figure out if it's these boots or these legs that I covet the most.  

I think it's a tie. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

please don't leave the country.

Since I've made a living learning how to see things on both sides of the political scale, I can, and will, argue both sides.  In fact, I picked a fight with my mom yesterday about the election just because I could.  I didn't necessarily disagree with what she was saying, I just sometimes feel like it's my duty as a journalist to present her with the other side.  Give her some food for thought.  Pester her like I'm a teenager and then get off the phone quickly.  So mature, I know.

Like in sports, in a political democracy, there will always be a winner and there will always be a loser.  Tuesday was like the South Carolina - Georgia game times a million. 

I woke up today, as I'm sure most of you did, to a Facebook feed full of friends on both sides of the happiness scale. 

Half of my friends did not win yesterday.  For that and for them, I am sad.  

I admit I have shared a chuckle over what I think are some of the more dramatic, doomsday type posts from those on the losing side.  But I also understand that if your candidate lost, your concerns about where this country is or is not headed are real.  I sincerely respect that.  I also know that had the election gone the other way, that losing side would've had frustrations too.

But before you pack your bags to leave the country, may I remind you that this is still the greatest nation in the world?  And we need you here! 

I'm still processing everything about last night and what it means and doesn't mean for our country's future.

But here's what I do know - we're all going to be OK.  We have each other.  And wine.  And beer.  And Doritos. And college football.  And the Real Housewives. 

Onward and Upward. That was my brother's motto via text this morning.

Here's mine, shared for the 3rd or 4th time on this blog.


Also, Colorado legalized marijuana, so there's that too.

Friday, November 2, 2012

who's the pumpkin carver?

I feel like I've been keeping a big old blog secret from you - and I'm ready to come clean.

Remember last year when my dad accosted some poor, unsuspecting, grieving guy at a funeral and showed him my picture on his cell phone?  

Well, I've been dating him.

For five months.

I'll spare you the details of how it all played out, because once you get past the funeral/dad thing - which does feel a little twisted sick southern arranged marriage - how we ended up getting together wasn't really all that interesting.  We Facebook stalked, we met for dinner, we drank several beers and realized we actually had quite a bit in common.  

Also, funeral guy isn't sure he wants to be a part of his blog, which I completely understand.  I'm like Taylor Swift of the blog world - you cross me, and I'll totally write about it.  His reluctance was expected.   

But not mentioning him, or blaming him for the reason it's taken me this long to write about the Ranch seemed strange too.

Plus I'd be remiss if I didn't allow you all the opportunity to make fun - or at least roll your eyes - at "New Relationship Steph."

She's different, softer than the cynical, sarcastic gal I've imagined myself to be.  I fear I'm losing my edge, doing "coupley" things that I myself don't even recognize.

I'm blowing off workouts to just "hang out" and eat ice cream or bacon and eggs or both. 

I cooked us dinner in a crock pot.   

We carved pumpkins.


I know, I know.  Barf. 

Sometimes I swear we're weeks away from spending Saturdays at Bed Bath and Beyond and Home Depot if we have time. 


Before you start to hate me - which I totally would if I weren't me - I will tell you that there are signs that the honeymoon period of our new relationship is coming to an end.  I don't think he finds my dramatics and accompanying ADD as cute as he used to.  And I've already started to eye his closet for the things I plan to eliminate. 

But we did carve pumpkins.  And I liked it.