Life Is So Much Better With Your Friends

The 1980’s were such an incredibly colorful and fun time to grow up in. We all had big hair that made us appear three inches taller than we actually were because it was so teased and poofed up like a rooster crown. Our clothes were made up of big, baggy neon shirts with low hanging belts, printed or acid washed jeans, colorful pumps with lace socks, and fingerless lace gloves a la Madonna. Jewelry consisted of earrings that each weighed the equivalent to a TV remote control, Swatch watches, and hundreds of jelly bracelets in every color imaginable that went halfway up our arms. And don’t even get me started on rabbit fur jackets. I wanted one so bad but I got a faux fur jacket instead. Do you know the difference between a real rabbit fur jacket and a fake one? One feels soft and snuggly while the other feels like you took the built up hair out of your hairbrush and made it into a coat. Definitely not the same. (But then I found out how rabbit fur jackets were made and I was glad I had a faux one.)

AND GOOD GRIEF – THE MAKEUP! We would wear purple or blue eye shadow and then line our eyes with darker shades of more purple or blue and we would end up looking like the daughters of Dr. Frank-N-Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Mascara would be applied in so many layers that it looked like tarantula legs were stuck to our eyelids. Blush was always applied in a dark stripe across the cheekbones, and foundation was so thick that a chisel was the only way we could take it off. Maybelline must have made a killing in the 80’s.

High school is where I spent my time during the 80’s. It’s normally a place that most people try to purge from their memory. For me, it’s the time in my life where I had a really bad overbite that was trying to be rectified with braces. …and not the cool colored kind they have today. Mine were shiny metal and unfortunately for my popularity status, I also had to wear rubber bands and headgear. Anyone that doesn’t know what headgear is clearly did not grow up in the 1980’s. I am confident that somewhere there was a demented orthodontist that created a metal torture device called headgear that you had to clip around your head that other othodontists could use for their own merriment.

But back to high school. It’s where I tried but completely failed at having a Farrah Faucett hairdo. It’s where I had crushes on boys that didn’t know I even existed, most likely because I had a chest flatter than a 10 year old boy.

But while the 80’s are home to some of my most embarrassing memories, it’s also when some of my best memories were made of growing up. I made some of my best friends while cheerleading for the basketball team, dancing across the football field at half time with the drill team (squeeze the marble, girls!), and of course, I made friends in my classes.

My best friends, however, were a group of girls I bonded with like no others. Somewhere along the line, we started calling ourselves “The Hatundas”… I don’t know where it came from or what it meant, but it sounded funny and we thought it was wicked. We would be heading to the latest football game, acting so cool in our class-after-class-hand-me-down polyester uniforms while sitting in the back of the bus screaming “Hail to Hatunda” and “Back of the bus forever!!!” The other girls would just look at us like they should redirect the bus driver away from the football game, and instead head on over to the local mental institution and schedule us for individual lobotomies. We didn’t care. We were just having fun and acting stupid. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do in high school?

After graduation, the Hatundas all went our separate ways and ended up at different colleges. Some got married and had babies, others traveled all over, and some started jobs in the corporate world. Over the years we tried to get together but it wasn’t until our 25th high school reunion that we really realized how much we missed seeing each other and how much we still really needed each other. Plus we realized we were getting old. And when the day comes that you realize you’re getting old, it’s a bad, bad day.

We have started getting together every other month for dinner and I look forward to each time like a kid looking forward to Christmas morning. Knowing that I am going to reminisce, laugh and talk with the girls who helped shape my life is priceless to me. The endless bags of taco-flavored Doritos, late night pizza and Dr. Pepper menu has changed to Tapas and Mojitos and wine. The conversation has also changed from who were we going to the Prom with, skanky girls that hit on our boyfriends, passing the test to finally get out driver’s license, and curfews… to our husbands midlife lack of hair confidence, the gross time when our son’s figured out what their willie’s do, and simply how hard it is raising kids. Our clothing is much better as well, but the giggles have a tendency to stay the same – especially at the stupid way our kids wear their hair and the way they dress, since the 80’s style is coming back around full circle.

I love these ex-Madonna wanna-be’s with all of my heart and wouldn’t trade my lifelong membership in the
Hatunda’s for anything in this world.

So, Hail to you, Hatunda! WHATEVER that means.

Do you stay in touch with your high school friends? Share your story!

We made the fun photo below using StoryMark – download for free in the iPhone app store and Android Marketplace

http://www.blogdash.com/full_profile/?claim_code=82826f1a7ae056c8819c407bf0b602cd

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Should I Pack The Kitchen Sink Too?

It’s Saturday morning and I wake up and realize that OMG – I promised the kids we would go to the pool today. I had come up with a gazillion great excuses during the week but today it is warm and sunny…and no rain in sight. Thanks a lot weather.com.

Drats. I’m stuck.

Kids don’t realize that you just don’t hop in the car and head on over to the pool or water park. Those clean towels and drinks and snacks and sunscreen and toys and floats and chairs don’t just magically appear in the car.  Someone had to get everything together and put it there.

Then once you get to your destination, be it a beach, a pool or the lake, someone has to set everything up. There are bodies to be sprayed and noses to be covered with sunscreen, floaties to be blown up, pool toys and sand buckets and goggles to be found and handed out.

Finally, when all is complete then I sit down and open my book to page four…the exact place where I left off the last time we were here.

Ahhh. I can finally relax. I settle down into the lounge chair, close my eyes for a brief moment and feel the sun beating down on me when I suddenly realize that I forgot to put sunscreen on myself.  About that same time I hear the sound of the lifeguard’s shrill whistle and him call out “adult swim!”   Suddenly the kids climb out of the pool and state that they are starving, all the while dripping all over my nice dry towel and book.  Never mind that we just ate lunch moments before we left the house, everyone is acting like they haven’t eaten in a week.

I hand out crackers and cheese and Capri Suns and water and right before they’re finished the lifeguards blow their whistles again and state that adult swim is over. The kids drop everything and start to head out like a stampede of buffalo until I yell for everyone come back and take their trash to the can. They slowly come back each one not wanting to claim the trash that ended up on the ground. The rule is – no one goes in the pool until the trash is gone so it finally disappears.

Ahhhh. Back to relaxation. I start back on page two because I’ve now forgotten what the book was about. I get to page four again when I hear someone crying. Uh oh. I look up from my book.  It’s the dreaded water-up-the-nose scream. I do my best to calm the victim and after a while she slowly heads back to the water and I turn back to my book, about which time I see a tiny drop of water soaking into the tender paper and spreading out like a virus. Then another. Tiny little sprinkles. No big deal. I can handle some sprinkles.  I read another page. Did I just hear thunder or am I just imagining it? I look towards the lifeguard stand and see that the lifeguard hasn’t seemed to notice. I begin to relax a little.  Then I hear it again and this time the life guard does too because his whistle is in his mouth already.  “Thunder. Everybody out of the pool.” I look towards the sky. It looks like Storm from X-Men has been here. The sky is getting darker and darker.   Where did this come from?

The kids stagger up and I distribute towels and flip flops.  I collect goggles, ear plugs, & toys.  I let the air out of the floaties and start to pack up.  Hopefully we can get to the car before the bottom falls out.

When I get home I’ve got to empty the cooler, put away snacks, wash and dry towels and bathing suits, and then I can finally take a shower.

And as I’m soaping up my hair I realize that dang it….I never even got to chapter two.

I used www.storymarklife.com to create the photo above.  Download for free in the iPhone app store or Android Marketplace.

Click HERE to follow Dana on Twitter!!

Star Wars vs. Nicholas Sparks. Who would win?

By Dana McIntyre @DanaMcIntyre1

My husband, Dale and I are very similar in so many ways – that’s what really attracted us to each other. We both love to camp, participate in triathlons, and so many other things. His parents have been married for 38 years, mine for 52. We both share the same religion, are non-smokers, and have the exact same political views.
But when it comes to movies, we are on complete opposite sides of the RedBox. I am a hopeless romantic so I’ve always loved movies like “When Harry Met Sally” and “The Wedding Date.” But I also love rough and tough movie like “Slap Shot” and “Gladiator.”

My husband however, loves action movies and…wait for it…..sci-fi. And I mean ANTHING sci-fi. Star Wars. Star Trek. Tron. Flash Gordon. If it has the word “Universe” or “Droid” or “Legion” in the trailer, then it is on his list of movies to watch. (Please don’t get me wrong though. I know a LOT of people like sci-fi…It’s just not for me.)

One afternoon Dale and I were kidding around and he started quoting something from Star Wars. I was completely lost. What the heck is a Boba Fett? Why would I know any of that? He started to clue in when my eyes started rolling back into my head.

“WHAT?” he said. “You have never seen STAR WARS??? Not ‘The Empire Strikes Back?’ Not the ‘Phantom Menace?’ NOTHING???”

Unknowingly, I had committed the cardinal sin of being a software programmers wife: I was not geek-worthy. Clearly I would never win at “Jeopardy!” if the category was science fiction.

One evening when we were trying to figure out what to watch on TV, Dale had the brilliant idea that we should finally watch Star Wars. He was completely serious. He said I could finally find out what a Sith was! YAYYYYYY! A sith? I was thinking hey I already know what that is. It’s what you use in the kitchen to drain your pasta. What’s it got to do with science fiction?

When I gave him a scowl, he then suggested “War Games” and I asked “Is that the movie you wanted me to watch where the guy lived in the computer game?” This time HE scowled and said “That’s Tron, doofus.” I just smiled and said ‘Did you seriously just call ME the doofus here?”

We ended up watching “21 Jump Street”.

Dale has suggested that we have a “Star Wars” marathon one day. That’s fine. Because if we have a “Star Wars” marathon, I have told him that we will also be having a Nicholas Sparks marathon.

I can’t wait!  He’s going to LOOOOOOVVVVE “The Notebook.”

 

I used Face-In-Hole and StoryMark to create the great picture above! For more information visit www.storymarklife.com or download for free at the iPhone app store or Android Marketplace.

Have you ever had TV wars with your spouse about what movies to watch?

4th of July Hotdogs & Freedom

By Dana McIntyre  @DanaMcIntyre1

The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.   Someone is always having a cookout – you can smell the burgers and kabobs on the grill as soon as you walk out of your house.  You hear the squeals of the kids as they do cannonballs into the deep end of the pool.  And you wait patiently for dusk to fall and so that you can begin looking towards the sky in anticipation for the fireworks show to begin.

I remember going to Stone Mountain with my parents and sister every year.  My mom would pack a cooler with drinks and snacks and we would all pile in our old Volkswagen van.  While everyone was heading to the lawn in front of the Stone Mountain carving where the fireworks would be, my dad would drive in and park on the side of the road where we could see the fireworks but could also had semi-easy access to get out before the crowd departed.

The only bad thing about that plan was that he had three girls with him…and there were no bathrooms on the side of the road.  So my mom would walk us to the bathroom (about a mile away) and then by the time we got back the fireworks were almost over.

Other parents clearly had the same great idea as my dad and they would also start to leave the park before the fireworks were completely over, to “beat the crowd”.  It really didn’t help since everyone else had the same great idea, and we would end up sitting in the same spot for more than an hour while my dad’s blood pressure rose and he swore over and over that we would “never do this again.”  Eventually we would make it out of the park but by then, my sister and I were comfortably asleep on the back seat.

Fast forward 20 years and my husband and I just took our kids to the local venue for fireworks.  As we celebrated this beautiful country’s 236th birthday and as we were watching the fireworks blast off, I was reminded of how fortunate we all are.  I realized that the 4th of July has a different meaning to me as an adult.  It’s much more than fireworks and sparklers and hot dogs.  It’s freedom.

And as we all piled back in our SUV to “beat the traffic” home, I heard a little voice coming from the back seat.  “I gotta pee.”

What did you do for the 4th of July this year?

For more information visit www.storymarklife.com or download for free at the iPhone app store or Android marketplace.

Bailey’s Birthday Minus Mom

By Dana McIntyre      @DanaMcIntyre1

It’s so hard for me to believe, but my husband and I have been married now for almost three years. We don’t have any kids together but we both brought kids from our previous marriages into our new one.

Most parents will agree that one of the most difficult things about getting divorced is not having your children with you all of the time. (Although for some people, they consider that a vacation!) For me, the hardest part was missing important holidays and events in my child’s life. He would spend Thanksgiving at my house one year, the next at his dads. Splitting Christmas day right in the middle…half at mom’s, half at dad’s.

This year, my step-daughter, Bailey was with us on her 11th birthday. We planned the usual birthday festivities – cake, balloons, gifts, friends, grandparents, etc. But as a mother who has been there, I knew it would be difficult for her mom not to see her on that day.

We used StoryMark to document her special day with tons of pictures (even using Instagram to add effects), but we also were able to add the sounds of the party and the ear bleeding result of our family singing Happy Birthday to her off-key. Bailey e-mailed the StoryMarks directly to her mother, allowing her to share in the party festivities.

So the next time you can’t attend a birthday party or a school chorus recital, consider using StoryMark to include the other parent. Bridging the gap between divorced parents can be so beneficial to your kids, and can start with the most simple gesture .

So Happy Birthday, Bailey! Cha! Cha! Cha!

Baileys Birthday – YouTube.

So what about you?  Have you ever been away from your kids on a holiday or birthday due to a divorce?  How did you cope?

For more information on StoryMark, visit http://www.storymarklife.com or download for free on your iPhone or Android.

Why I Will Never Be An Art Critic

By Dana McIntyre

When I was in high school, I did a lot of babysitting to make some quick and what I thought was relatively easy cash. I mean what was so hard about watching a couple of kids? (Answer: they weren’t mine.)

Anyway – after the parents left and the kids finished their platefuls of ketchup with a side of corn dogs, we decided to draw to pass the time until bedtime. We decided not to let each other see our pictures until we were all finished.

I was certain that upon revealing our drawings, the kids would oooh and ahhh and stroke my ego with compliments of my Renoir-like picture of a flower. But when the boy turned his picture around I was shocked and a little horrified to see this incredible drawing of what I assumed to be a very detailed sunflower. My bubble burst. My drawing started to look a little like a booger.

“Wow – ummm, that is a really good drawing”, I said. “Your sunflower is much better than my flower.” You could have heard a pin drop. I looked around. Had I accidentally broken his crayon?

“A SUNFLOWER?” he said sharply, sort of with a “duh” undertone. “It’s NOT a sunflower. It’s the High-Density Genotyping Array…” and he finished his sentence with several other really big words that I had never heard before..and had to Google just to write this post.

I felt like an idiot. He was looking at me like I had no brain. And did I mention that he was only six years old? Yes, you read that right. Six years old and schooling me on science. (Twenty years later, I would like to say he’s the guy working on my car but of course not. He’s a doctor.)

Which brings me back to the drawing. Has your child ever given you a drawing that they were so proud of but you couldn’t for the life of you figure out what it was? They were standing there beaming and you were trying to figure out what to say about it? That would be the perfect time to use the StoryMark app.

Take a picture of the drawing and have them explain to you what the picture is all about…then show them the StoryMark they just made. (Make it fun and they’ll want to do it every time!) The picture and audio are joined together and you can save both forever. (Plus, in case you don’t want to physically keep every drawing, you can save them on your iPhone or Android or save them to your photo library and then accidentally-on-purpose throw the original away.) And this way you can send copies of EVERYTHING to their grandparents!

So the next time you see a drawing where you don’t have a clue what it is of, just remember that Picasso probably got the same reaction from his mother….but unfortunately for her, they didn’t have StoryMark back then to save her the embarrassment of asking what the heck he was painting.

And, what I wouldn’t give to have a StoryMark of Matthew telling my parents what his “letter” to them says…

For more information on StoryMark, visit www.storymarklife.com, or download for free on your iPhone or Android.

“Hey Y’all!!! Watch This!!!”

By Dana McIntyre

My son Matthew has never been one to sit back and let life pass him by. He has always been busy doing something…being the Captain of the high school ice hockey team, or when he went through his skateboarding phase, or when he learned to play the guitar (“Hey mom, have you ever heard of a band called Pink Floyd?”) or whatever, he’s always stayed busy…and there’s usually a pretty good story to go along with it.

So one day when he brought some clothes home that desperately needed to be washed or just thrown away, I knew there would be a pretty funny explanation.

Now, anyone who is from the South can attest that Georgia has red clay, and not mud. Just like kudzu that grows on everything standing still, & yellow pollen covering every car in the spring, our red clay can be recognized instantly. If you’re watching a movie and see red clay, you know immediately it was made in the great State of Georgia. (Smokey & The Bandit, Fried Green Tomatoes, My Cousin Vinny, Forrest Gump, & Deliverance to name a few. I’d like to not claim Deliverance because it’s what every Northerner thinks Georgia is all about, but what would Northerner’s talk about if not for us?)

Matthew pulled out his iPhone and I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw some of the pictures they had taken of the day’s events. The boys had clearly been out “mudding” on their dirt bikes & 4 wheelers because they were covered from head to toe in red clay.

I asked Matthew if they had fun & he said yeah, they were “mud tubing.”

It all started after it rained every day for about a week. He had just gotten his driver’s license and he and the boys would drive around looking for a fun place to ride their dirt bikes. They found an open field that was already nothing but mud and had been riding bikes for a while when someone said the infamous Southern words that makes every mother cringe….”Hey y’all – watch THIS!!!”

Someone grabbed an inner tube out of the back of someone’s truck and tied it to a four wheeler. The idea was to not only get dragged through the mud but to get sprayed by the chunks of mud coming off of the tires of the four wheeler. (What made me laugh was that apparently they have done this so much they had actually NAMED this event.)

My favorite picture shows mud tubing in action so I asked Matthew to explain:

Mud Tubing SM – YouTube.

And while he had fun tubing, let me just say that it’s not all fun and games trying to get that famous Georgia clay out of clothes!

Follow Dana on Twitter @DanaMcintyre1

Being “There” When You Can’t “Be There”

By Dana McIntyre @danamcintyre1

If you’ve read some of my other blogs, you already know that my father recently underwent a stem cell transplant. (If you didn’t, then get to reading!) He was in the hospital for over two weeks which, unfortunately, coincided with his first grandson’s graduation from high school.

We planned on using iPhone FaceTime so that he could watch the graduation live, but since we did not have internet at the stadium that idea fell through. I tried calling and letting him hear the graduation over the phone but there was so much feedback that he was unable to determine what was being said.

We planned on using StoryMark to document his graduation anyway and it worked out perfectly because I was able to record Matthew’s name being announced as he crossed the stage to get his diploma. I recorded the Superintendent of Schools announcing the Class of 2012 graduated. I captured the class chanting and tossing their caps after all was said and done. And I was able to text it to my dad immediately so he was “there” when he technically “wasn’t there”.

And as much as I love using StoryMark, I’m thrilled that my dad’s transplant was a success…and that he can be there in person for my son’s COLLEGE graduation!

Tossing the caps! Using StoryMark with an Instagram Pic! – YouTube.

My Imaginary Date With Zac Efron

By Dana McIntyre

My husband and I are always joking back and forth about our “celebrity crushes”.  When we are choosing a movie, he will say “And oooooh, it has your boy Zac Efron in it.  We are definitely going to have to watch that one, huh?”

My answer?  “Well, duh.”   I’ve decided that if my husband ever follows through on his threat to make me sit through a Star Trek marathon, then we are having an Efron Marathon too…Hello Charlie St. Cloud!!

(So now, everyone is well aware of my Cougar crush on the high school musical star.  Sigh…)

So one day I played a joke on him by using another photo app on my iPhone called Face-In-Hole, where you can use pictures and impose someone else’s face on the picture, and voila!  You’re on the red carpet with your favorite celebrity!

To  make it even funnier, I used StoryMark to ask my husband a question…

Funny 1 – YouTube.


And he responded to me like this…

Funny 2 – YouTube.

 

So I sent one back to him…

Me & Zac – YouTube.

And although my red carpet walk with Zac Efron only occurs on my phone and in my dreams, and I am painfully reminded that I am old enough to be his mother, I can still cherish those imaginary memories thanks to StoryMark and Face-In-Hole.

And, by the way, do cougars growl?  Because if so, Zac, can you hear me?  I’m growling.

For more information, check out http://www.storymarklife.com or find the free StoryMark app in the iPhone store or for Android (Google Play).

Happy Father’s Day, Mr. Fancy Pants

By Dana McIntyre  @danamcintyre1

Father’s Day is coming up and this year is more special to me than ever.  Six months ago we were not sure my Dad would even be around for Father’s Day.   He was diagnosed with a blood cancer and started chemo treatments immediately.   (He recently underwent a stem cell transplant, and I am blessed to say that it was successful!)

This year for Father’s Day I plan on doing something different for him.  I am going back through my old photos and finding the ones that make me laugh, the ones that make me remember and the ones that make me happy.  I want him to know how much those memories mean to me and how lucky I am to have the best dad in the world.

I want him to know that I remember seeing the thousands of jellyfish in the water on our beach trip to Panama City.  I remember camping in our 1970’s VolksWagon van and catching my first trout in the river up in the north Georgia mountains.  I remember going to the pool and being mesmerized by the tsunami that he created by doing a cannonball off the diving board.  I want him to know that I cherish every one of those memories!

And I plan on giving those memories back to him through StoryMark.

And as much as I love my dad, I will have to make fun of his short sleeved turtleneck shirt and plaid pants combo from 1974.  It’s classic.