Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Taxi Cab Confessions

Last night was a particularly boring night of television. Mondays usually are in our house but for exception of Hawaii 5-0, which doesn't have its fall premiere until next week. Enter our entertainment savior, Netflix. M Dubs, selected Conspiracy Theory and I didn't pay too much attention except that the introduction to the movie drug on endlessly with Mel Gibson driving a cab and ranting to each of his riders about everything under the sun. The credits seemed to go on forever and then I realized it was just because this cabbie character of Mel's was just so impossibly annoying. 
Then, it occurred to me that some of the most interesting and impressionable conversations in my life have been with cab drivers. It was a very random thought that charged a super-overload of memories. Suddenly, as I tried to organize these thoughts, I was transported back to New Orleans circa 1986.

Now, let it be know that there are actually many stories that could be told about this trip... and the subsequent childhood trips to New Orleans, for that matter. New Orleans + Age 6 = "cultural" overload, if you know what I'm saying. I remember my dad trying to hale a cab out of the French Quarter after dinner one night. As a 6-yeal old, I'm positive that I didn't know the proper or social etiquette for obtaining a ride home but I remember my dad having a particularly hard time finding a cabbie to let us into his car. Finally, after what seemed like forever walking up to each car lined down the side street, a man finally let us into his cab. His car was ragged and smelled of cigarettes. I don't remember what prompted the conversation, but as an adult, I now know that cabbies seem to like to talk. He told us about the recent string of violent cab crimes that the city had fallen victim to the night before. Two cabbies had been murdered and all his fellow drivers were a bit edgy when taking new fares. I remember him saying that one of the guys had been killed for less than 20.00. I think that was my first fall-out with humanity... The first time that I knew that things in the world weren't as pleasant as I might have believed. While you may read this and find it disturbing that my parents placed me in such a situation, I'm actually glad they did. I've known from a very young age that life is precious and can be abruptly and painfully taken away. Let me say it again because it bares repeating, life is precious and can be abruptly and painfully taken away.

A cabbie in Austin told me that he grew up in the circus. You just can't make this stuff up. I mean, really...how many people have you met with this story? Keep Austin weird.

A driver in Paris said he liked my accent. Come on now... I go to Paris and they find my accent appealing. Howdy, y'all!

The Memphis PD acted as our escort back to our hotel late one night when no cabs could be found. That was the first and only time I've ever been in the back seat of a cruiser. To protect and serve...

On a recent trip to Charleston, we came across an Egyptian national who was working his way through the American immigration system. He told us how many thousands of dollars he'd already spent on his citizenship and that his wife and children were still in Egypt. He didn't know if or when they would be able to come to the US. He had a Master's degree and was here driving a cab to send money back to his family. 

I suppose that the point to all this is that everyone has a story and it's only as a captive audience that I have really chosen to hear some of them. Perhaps I should take more time to listen to people - as it turns out, they're pretty interesting. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's Alive....Kind of!

That's right folks.... After months of procrastination, I finally got the website for MWD up and (for the most part) running. Take a looksie here and see what I can do for your next print or web project or email me at mccarrollwilliamsdesigns@gmail.com!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Parenting Fact #248 - When you have a kid, everyone has an opinion. It seems like I lived my first 30 years with little to no public interjection whatsoever. I can't recall too many instances where complete strangers ever made a point to remind me of my flaws, weaknesses and/or any other somewhat social infringement that I may have made.

I've never been questioned on my ability to care for myself nor has anyone ever impugned my intelligence or common sense. Wait, I retract that statement... I'm sure there have been some instances of belittlement but for the most part I must have an innate ability to tune people out when it comes to editorial comments regarding myself. Not a bad skill to have in some circumstances.

Then, you become a parent and the friendly, albeit unsolicited, advice begins to roll in like a plague of locust. Well, maybe not locust... but a plague of some epic proportions just the same. This I am sure of.

It seems as though the very moment you brandish your newborn, you've seemingly opened Pandora's Box of Public Parenting. Scrutiny is abundant. Suddenly, everybody has something to say. And when I mean that they have something to say, I mean get your tissues out and refill your Xanax because all censoring of any sorts is out the window. There is no sugar coating. People just start saying exactly what they're thinking. And, they're really owning it!

My first experience was over socks. Yes, socks. While both my mother and mother-in-law may believe that this originated with them, it actually occurred during our first real outing to Target when my son was 8 days old. He was securely fastened in his carrier and snuggled under a temperature appropriate blanket. At some point during our outing, his abnormally long foot slipped from underneath its cover. And just like that, I exposed my newbie parenting flaws to the world. A lady approached me and asked if his sock had fallen off. I replied that he wasn't wearing socks and was quickly informed that he should be wearing socks!!! For goodness sakes, he could catch pneumonia and that would surely set off a series of events that would forever cripple him both physically and emotionally. That was it - because of his lack of socks he was now destine to never spacewalk, become President of the United States or cure a particularly heinous disease - one having to do with feet, I'm sure. 

Now, here's my theory about newborns and socks...

They don't really need them. They fall off within minutes of putting them on their tiny, itty bitty feet and they're a booger to keep up with in the wash.

Now, here's my theory on opinions...

Everyone has one. 

Yup, that's pretty much it on that one. After really thinking about it, I've figured two things out when it comes to people's opinions...

1. People's opinions often (and easily) get the better of them. There's a lot of energetic passion behind how people feel about certain things...like socks, for instance. People just have an impulsive need to share.

2. Most (and I emphasize MOSTopinions come from a good place, regardless of how the message was delivered. 

So the next time you're faced with an opinionated know-it-all, simply smile and say "I did not know that, thank you so very much sharing that information with me." They walk away feeling as though they've made an effort to make the world more of "their kind of place" and you'll probably just get a good laugh. Everybody wins.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The "Kinda" Friends I Have

Thirty Thoughts Posting...

Editorial note - this posting was originally written 2 years ago, around the time of my high school's 10 year reunion. The article remained unfinished until picking it up several days ago and realizing that there was more content to add in hindsight. 

8. Friendships change and evolve just like the people that you have them with.

They don't make friends like they used to...

A decade ago, all my friends were just like me. Just... Like... Me... Not surprising considering the high school I went to was pretty PB&J; totally plain, ordinary and very much lacking any kind of true diversity. Everyone that I spent time with had similar family backgrounds, lived with a mile or so of my own home and had the same interests as I did as far the extra-curriculars went. These were my starter friendships but no less important than any others that I've cultivated along the way. They taught me how to care for someone outside of my self and prepare me for the deeper relationships to follow in time. They mean quite a bit to me to this day although I lost track with many of them shortly after graduating.

Now that we're a mobile society and social networking has been hardwired into our daily life, it became easier than ever to "reach out and touch somebody" and reconnect after all these years. I've found and been found by a slew of classmates in the last year or two. I've wondered what happened after 1999 and figured out that the answer is, a lot. We are all quite different now. Some of us have families and careers, some are still figuring out just who it is that they want to be. But, it's pretty apparent that as a whole, we are far from our "white bread" beginnings. 

With that being said, it's no wonder that after these Facebook reunions we begin to realize that we aren't quite as close as we once were because we're not exactly the same people we were all those years ago. And make no mistake, that's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm very proud to see some of the accomplishments of my fellow alums. There are doctors, lawyers, teachers and musicians who are all masters in their fields. However, it's those who seem genuinely content that I am honestly most happy for. It's been a rough 10 or so years and we've gone from college kids to getting married (a few divorces as well, I might add - well, I guess I did) to raising kids. That's a hefty amount of adjustments in a fairly short amount of time. We've changed and so have our relationships with one another. 

The Facebook thing makes me chuckle though. Friends seem to fall into these very specific categories now:

The True Friends - no matter how much time or space separates us, we can pick up right where we left off. Perhaps because there's still such a strong connection after all this time. These friends are the ones from years back and the ones that I've known for a considerably less amount of time. When it comes down to it, it makes no difference how long I've known them... I've just always known them to be there in the best and worst of times. 

The "Kinda-Sorta" Friends - I keep these friends around because they're interesting. They're sort of my trophy-Facebook friends that I can voyeuristicly peek into their lives because, honestly, they're just cooler than I am. They keep me up on what's trending and things I find interesting, yet have no interest in actually doing (shout out to my Yoga peeps!) These friends tell funny stories, even though I usually have no clue as to who they're talking about or what hip references they're making. If I were to reach out to them, I probably wouldn't count on a response but their entertainment value is worth the sting of rejections... or in most Facebook cases, silence.

The "What Was I Thinking" Friends - These are those people that every time I see their posts, I think to myself "I really need to delete them." They are the antithesis of the "Kinda-Sorta" set. They don't bring anything to the table as far as cool and interesting are concerned and they still wouldn't be there for me if I were to actually need them. They just kind of suck. 

I suppose you could compartmentalize them even more, but what's the use? My finding is that we've all changed. Some of us still have what it takes to be the same caring, empathetic friends we once were. Some of us are better off as acquaintances. We've all gone spinning off into a million directions but it's pretty cool to see what we can take from each other's journeys along the way. Like I said before, friendships change and evolve just like the people that you have them with. Live and let live and let's hope we still keep up with each other in the coming years. That is, if you at least have something cool and/or interesting to contribute.

Laugh, because that's what it's really all about!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A "Ward" Free Lifestyle

Note to self - cool your heels a bit after encountering something that you loathe so much that you have an actual physical reaction to.

The Internet is a crazy little piece of work. On the same note, it can also make you crazy. I just typed in a Google search for general parenting articles and came across quite the literary gem that the Google Gods obviously misplaced. At first, the search returned a website named thechildfreelife.com. Nope, that's not what I was looking for...continue on. I clicked on the next return where I stumbled across one of the most asinine articles that I've ever read.

The article is, in my opinion, insulting before the actual content even begins. I could write a manifesto on the title alone but I'll try to move straight to the irritating slights that the "author" manages to douse on a (what I see to be) very kid-friendly society. Carolyn Ray wrote a piece (of garbage, I might add) called "The Social Stigma of Leading a Ward-Free Life" I mean seriously, did she just refer to a child...a human being as a "ward?"  Strike one, lady.

She then eludes to a number of observations. Mind you, she never even actually states very many of her own reasons for not wanting kids but rather references  instances where parents are in the wrong for wanting and having them in the first place (over-population, a selfish need to have someone love them...yada, yada, yada.) I try my best to roll with a live-and-let-live lifestyle. However, this lady is so off her rocker it's painstaking for me to advocate tolerance for profound stupidity. Let me acquaint you with a couple of her theories:

  • "People have kids to fulfill something inside of themselves that's missing - primarily insecurity or a lack of happiness."
  • "Judging by the way many parents behave toward children, and by the things they complain about, it seems pretty clear that most people don't like children very much at all."
Let me also explain the semantics of "childless" vs. "childfree" vs. "wardfree" - 

Childless - a person who by circumstance (infertility, timing, financial situations, etc.) does not have a child. Most people fall into this category as they want children but have just yet to have them. I myself was childless for most of my life but most certainly wanted children.

Childfree - a person who chooses  not to have children for personal reasons.

Wardfree - a stupid and offensive way to state that you are proud to be childfree by insulting mainstream society. Let's get on the same page lady, you are the minority, not parents or those that are simply childless.

Now I know that I've ranted pretty hard and busted this chicks chops, but for good reason. As always, my posts try to find joy in very unexpected places. Therefore, what I choose to take away from this lady's waste of Cyberspace is that FACT that she is the minority and not the majority. In my life, majority rules so it's us parents and yet-to-be parents that are the winners here. We're winners because we're selfless and not selfish as she implies. Take stock that we as parents raise our kids for the greater good of our society - not to attribute to its demise. Believe me, we have plenty of other issues that are working to destroy our society.

Kids are our future... If we were to stop having them, civilization would cease to exist. Ummm, duh! This seems to be a no-brainer. So let's raise our kiddos up right and teach them to contribute to the well being of society in their own special, unique, interesting and beautiful ways!

I am a blessed and truly lucky woman because I find joy every time I have the privilege of looking into any child's eyes - not just my own. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Don't Worry 'Til There's Something to Worry About

A Thirty Thoughts Posting...

Yesterday, I was at the Gyno (don't worry, I won't get too specific from here on...) and was told that I needed yet another surgery. I need to have some sort of "something-or-other" removed. While I'm pretty sure the doctor was more specific with his diagnosis, all I could hear was "bak, bak, bak"...just like the teacher on Charlie Brown. At that point, my brain shut off momentarily. Now, I'm pretty good at selective hearing and an expert on choosing what information I care to retain and what to trash but this was total system failure. A brain fart of epic proportions. 

When my brain came back online I had the following thoughts:

"Um, 'kay? Another surgery...perfect! Wait, you want to do this in 2 weeks?! How do I have an abdominal surgery when I have an 8 month old that has to be carried everywhere?"

A few years ago (possibly, even a few months ago if I'm going to be really honest) I would have flipped my crazy, self-centered lid. But, as luck would have it, I don't have that luxury anymore. I'm a mom and that means business.

After processing the information for the better part of an afternoon I realized that I needed to listen to my own advise - Don't worry 'til there's something to worry about!

Worry breeds a bevy of other negative thoughts. It sets your (negative) creative wheels turning and only churns out a bunch of stuff that you can't do anything about. What good comes from worry? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It doesn't change a thing. It's gonna be whatever it already is so why bother with the details until I'm told otherwise?

Once again, I think that's a lesson that you can only learn in time. Man, if I'd of applied this way of thinking a long time ago, I would have avoided a few ulcers, saved a load of cash on my Tums purchases and probably lived just a bit more of stress free life. Oh well. Lesson learned but more importantly...lesson applied!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thoughts on 30, Part 1

The Dirty on Thirty is an idea that I came up with last year as my time in my twenties were coming to a rapid close. As I clung to what was left of my "me" decade, I wanted to chronicle my lessons learned and... my lessons not learned very well.

It became evident that this could take a while and that perhaps this endeavor may be better suited as a feature of this blog rather than one wham-bam post. I'm thinking about this purely logically - NOT because I'm a deep or philosophical thinker. I'm writing it as a featured series because, well honestly, things pop in and out of my head so sporadically that I could never get all my points across in a single post. I'm pretty sure that has something to do with ADD. Let me take my meds and I'll get back to you on that... (Insert uncontrollable laugh here)

Again, as I often do, I digress...

I really wanted to separate my stories, experiences, laughable screw-ups and lessons so that I can give them each the proper attention they deserve and hopefully give you, my followers, something to take from each post. If you're interested, I'm keeping a running list under the Thirty Thoughts tab of this page. Check in often to see what somewhat practical situations I've run into that I've been able to learn from. So here it is y'all. The first installment of many more to come. Laugh at it, take it or leave it but most of all, enjoy it - 

Thoughts on 30, Lesson 1

This is a quicky but a goodie. It's a quicky because it takes no brain power whatsoever to comprehend...

The Golden Rule is a good rule. Use it! 

'Nough said on that one.