Friday, December 17, 2010

Aloha


{Aloha, paradise. Photo.}

I'm not fluent in any language other than English, so I will use the one word I do know that is another "language" if you will: Aloha. I hear it means both hello and/or goodbye, depending upon the situation.

So, Aloha. Just for a just a little bit. Not forever.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm Martha Stewart. Plus, an upcoming CSN Stores review!

Actually, that's a lie. I'm the opposite of Martha. But the upcoming review thing is true. See, here's the thing about me: I love home decor. I like painting, DIY-ing, re-doing and lots of other things that end in -ing. But liking something and being good at something are not the same. The part of my brain that likes pretty things and wants to make them rarely communicates with the part of my brain that is impatient and incapable. But I subscribe to Martha Stewart Living anyway, just to have a moment to pretend that I'm crafty and fabulous.

I truly realized my Martha status was lacking last night when the curtains I ordered arrived on my front porch. It was exciting. I tossed them into the dryer to get out the wrinkles, and then put them on the rods only to realize....one of them was at least 44 inches shorter than the rest. It's like the window is wearing a mullet. But, for the first time in my life here on planet Earth, it was not my fault. One more check in the Martha column.

But on to this review situation. I was recently contacted by the fine people at CSN Stores to do a review for their fine company. They are a Boston-based company with lots of fabulous products and numerous websites; 200+! They have cookware, they have bedding, they have purses and they even have TV Stand. There are some beautiful pieces on there too; I have my left eye on one of the corner stands in oak, which is currently on sale for just $375. Oh, and free shipping. Shut the front door.

Just the mere thought of a TV Stand makes me giggle though, considering the large slice of awfulness upon which my TV currently rests. It's a super hand-me-down from some relative who likely found it in a trash heap and/or rummage sale. Why is it so awful? Well, because it's made to look like it was fashioned from bamboo. Newsflash: it's not bamboo. But when your TV is the un-flattest television on the block, the stand upon which it sits can't be more fabulous than the TV itself. It's State Law. The other great part of having an awful TV is that you can enjoy the comforts of nearly every sporting event without having to worry about that darn score all the time. You know, because wide screen kicks it out beyond the reaches of your current, non-wide screen, TV and out of your view. I don't like sports, so it really only bothers one person at our house. Which is not me. Of course. Go Team!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

This blows


{Just hanging out in my awesome, well-lit attic, ya'll. Photo.}
 As 2010 quickly draws to a close, something important is about to take place: the super-fantastic 2010 IRS Federal Home Energy Tax credit expires. At our house, this equates to a mad dash to install insulation in our attic. You see, our house has a major attic situation happening which typically means it's really cold upstairs in the winter and what? That's right. It's hot upstairs in the summer. It's delightful, really.

But the thing about installing insulation yourself is that it requires you to spend extended amounts of time in the very worst part of your house: the attic. Have you ever visited the attic? It's not fun in there. It's dark. It's cold. There are random nails sticking out of things, waiting to give you typhoid. And if you come to our attic, there is rat poison, mouse droppings and dead mice carcasses. Oh and by the way, there's no standing! Only crouching and kneeling, please and thank you. And, in case that wasn't bad enough you have to always remember one very important thing: the floor of the attic isn't just the floor, it's the ceiling of the room below. Ergo, you can only walk on these things that people call "joists" that look suspiciously similar to thin beams of wood.

So, as we departed on our fantastic insulation voyage, we bought all sorts of wonderful things: there were batts and rolls of fiberglass and foam board and reflective sheets of things and my most beloved variety, blown-in. Installing this stuff was especially infuriating because of the printed material used to make installing said product appear to be an exciting, non-mouse poop filled experience. Seriously, these people do not look like they have ever had the joy of stepping foot in an attic, nor do I believe they are enjoying themselves. So why, for the love of all things holy, must they create brochures with these people, embracing in front of insulation?

{I love you. Also, I love insulation. Photo}
 That's from the Not Going to Call Them By Name Company, popular insulation maker and distributor. I want to talk to these people, who are embracing, smirking and loving one another, and ask them if they know how deceptive their embrace truly is, considering that I have no desire to embrace anyone (and I mean anyone) in front of insulation. Or, near insulation. Or, in the attic. Actually, it would be more realistic if they were wringing each other's neck because the insulation was causing such turmoil in their relationship.

Why's that? Well, because I had the distinct pleasure of knowing what it's like to assist my husband in blowing insulation into our attic last night. Allow me to be the first to inform you that it only took a few seconds of this task for me to realize that if I am ever banished to fiery bowels of Hell, this will be my job for all eternity. Not that I think I'm going to Hell, I'm just anticipating this incredibly unpleasant task as my 'special project' until forever. My dear husband took his post in the bowels of our attic, while I had the pleasure of hanging out in the garage. With the garage door open. With below zero wind chills. Also, with the door to our home open for the large tube that carried insulation into the attic.

It's sooo easy, the package said with a stupid cartoon woman loading bushels of insulation into the hopper with an awful smirk on her face. "Look! That's you!" said my husband. "And that would be me!" he said about the idiot cartoon man in the cartoon attic, cheerily blowing dust particles everywhere. Just because you describe something excitedly does not make it exciting, mmkay? Especially when 20 bushels of "non-itch-super-recycled-good-for-the-planet-isn't-this-so-super-great" insulation that weigh at least 15 pounds each must be cut open violently, hoisted above my head and loaded into a hopper with rotating teeth inside. {More on that later.}

So, with my mask on my face and glasses on my eyes, I went to work. I cut open packages and didn't do the same to my hand! I loaded bushel after bushel, even though I couldn't feel my fingers! I blinked, even though the dust was coating my eyelashes! In the end, after I couldn't breathe or feel my hands, it was over. To which my dust-covered eyes revealed the truth: I did not enjoy the experience.

"Home improvement project! Together! Isn't it great?" he asked, arms spread for a dusty embrace.

I didn't respond.

To which he said, "You know, you did just as good of a job as my dad. Plus, you're better looking!"

True story.

He encouraged me to load the remaining particles and let the blower run for a few minutes. To which I decided it was a good idea to shove a broom handle into the machine to get out the remaining particles. Despite the warning stickers, naturally. The machine successfully turned the broom into a pretzel. I love pretzels. Oh, and Maple Nut Goodies. Which I received as payment for a job well done.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday Thought: He Maketh No Mistake



He Maketh No Mistake

My Father’s way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I’m glad to know,
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But I’ll trust my Lord to lead
For He doth know the way.

Tho’ night be dark, and it may seem
That day will never break,
I’ll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistake.

There’s so much now I cannot see,
My eyesight’s far too dim;
But come what may, I’ll simply trust
And leave it all to Him.

For by and by the mist will lift
And plain it all He’ll make,
Through all the way, tho’ dark to me
He made not one mistake.

by A.M. Overton

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our weakness is no stranger


Do you have a favorite Christmas song? I do. I know it's my favorite Christmas song because it always (yes, always) makes me cry. It is the most touching, beautiful song I have ever heard. I typically spend the entire month of December waiting to hear it. The fact that I always cry over a song makes my husband giggle when he realizes that I'm not crying about something sad, I'm crying because something is so wonderful.

But this song always gets me; there's just something about it that has always spoken to me since I was a child. I remember sitting in Midnight Mass at church, waiting for the choir to start singing "my" song. I loved that the choir sang "my" song in my favorite childhood movie, Home Alone. I can't say that I necessarily know all the words by heart, but after looking up the lyrics to post them below, it makes me fall in love with its beauty all over again.

December is a funny time, really. It's dark, cold, snowy and very hectic. We buy gifts, reflect on the year and sometimes, find quiet moments to reflect on the blessings and joy in our lives. That's what Christmas is all about. That and listening to this beautiful song. It's about that, too.


O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!


Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!


Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Christmas Spirit

I'm having some difficulty in getting with the program. Is it time for Christmas presents? What happened to November? Is it too early for candy canes? Is $39.95 too much for a reindeer made from grapevines? How do I untangle my Christmas lights? What is this fluffy white substance falling from the sky? Who on this earth could possibly have enough Christmas Spirit to listen to the "Holly" Christmas music station on XM without insanity side effects?

This is likely because I'm in denial that it's December or because we will be laying on the sandy beaches in paradise for Christmas. (You feel so sorry for me, I know.) Ergo, I am trying my darndest to fit all the Holiday cheer possible into the next few weeks. I'm all Christmas, all the time. Well, except for when I'm thinking about bathing suits, straw hats, sunglasses and packing a suitcase that weighs less than 60 lbs. and also supplies me with 9+ days of outfits. Do I think about Santa or do I think about the salty ocean waves? Flip flops or Ugg boots? Winter parkas or strappy maxi dresses? Sunburns or hypothermia? Hot coffee or drinks that are served with a small paper umbrella?

Perhaps wasting my time trying to decide what I should think about isn't the most useful task. So, I have focused my attention upon one concept at a time: I purchased a new swimsuit during my lunch break today, while sipping a warm cup of cinnamon tea. See, the two halves of my brain CAN get along!

Here are the other things I'm filling my brain with over the next few weeks:



1. Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea, $8 for 20 Sachets
2. Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder, $47
3. Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve, $6
4. Victoria's Secret Ruffle Sliding Triangle Top, $9.99 and String Bottom, $9.99
5. John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum Extra Strength Formula, $8.99
6. Danskin Now 10 lb. kettlebell, $18.77


1. This is the best tea ever, without question. It's sweet (and it has no sugar!) and filled with great spices and flavors like black tea, cinnamon, orange peel and sweet cloves. I have a big cup every afternoon and it is fantastic. Oh, and the metal tin is pretty neat, too.

2. If I didn't know better, I would say that this bronzer is made from dreams, it's that fantastic. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. Guerlain has been around for ages (they are the oldest perfume house in the world) and this is a product that they have mastered. I don't fake bake, but I will be using this product to offset my current pastiness on the beach.

3. You know those painful little cracks in your skin and lips that develop in winter? This is my solution to that pesky problem. My skin is a strange mix of oily (my face) and incredibly dry (my body & hands) so I am very picky when it comes to what comes near my skin. It's soothing without being greasy and healing without a big investment. I use this primarily on my lips and hands.

4. Isn't this suit adorable? Oh, and the price is pretty cute, too. I bit the bullet and purchased this little number on my lunch break today from the VS website. While sipping a heaping mug of item #1, naturally.

5. I've said it before, I shall say it again: my hair belongs in an insane asylum. It's really thick, naturally curly and typically frizzy. The winter months, paired with my eternal longing to be blonde forever, has completely zapped the moisture from my hair. This stuff has been my savior and the shine and softness has returned to my tresses.

6. I recently discovered the kettlebell and I think I'm in love. It's an awesome total body workout and I've seen big results in my muscle tone after the last 6 months. It has added shape to my lanky body--and it will help when I'm donning my new swimsuit, too.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Easy Way


{HT}

I pretty much do everything the hard way. It's almost as though I have no idea there is an easier way to do things--in fact, it could be suggested that I prefer the hard way. Which typically results in me hurting myself, damaging personal property or screaming obscenities. All because I'm too stubborn to ask for help or too lazy to locate the appropriate tools for the job. You could say it's a gift.

However, when it comes to my heart, I prefer to do things the easy way. You know, the way that protects my fragile heart and soul from harm. I have been protecting those treasured possessions of mine for quite some time. I keep them tucked away in a really good hiding place away from gawking eyes and painful questions, and they stay locked away in a blissful ignorance at all times. They could stay there for all eternity, trapped by the hands of time and my own urging to live without them. But life sometimes has a way of finding those hidden spots, those forgotten crevices, and pulling the contents to the surface and allowing them to bob in the waves of an endless ocean. Today was one of those days.

After trudging through the pain, stress and heartbreak of infertility, I decided that enough was enough. Truly, I was finished with every solitary aspect of that world. It has been holding me captive for too long. I am a prisoner to the unknown, the opinions and tests and grand announcements that left us with more questions and disappointment than we could stuff into Mary Poppin's bag. So, I did the easy thing: I just turned it off. I flipped the switch, turned off the lights, locked the door and walked away. I stopped dwelling on it. I surrendered to it all, falling to my knees and proclaiming that I was setting that part of my life free. I couldn't hold it anymore. I didn't want to live there anymore. It was time to pick up and move someplace else. So that's what I did.

I stopped crying. I stopped begging. I stopped talking about it. I stopped asking questions that had no answers. I stopped being angry. I stopped allowing myself to wish my life upon someone else. I just stopped. Until I was reminded today that I can't hide "that part" away forever. I thought I could, but I can't. Because ignoring a part of who you are--the part that hopes, dreams, believes in miracles, the part that believes in the impossible--well, isn't possible. I hardened myself to the beautiful side because it was easier that way. And, because I had been supremely disappointed. My hope had been dashed over and over again, and it was painful.

Sometimes it's easier to turn off the noise completely than it is to try and figure out how to turn down the volume. It doesn't have to be all or nothing; perhaps it can be just a messy hodge podge instead, I often remind myself when something tries to pry open that side of my soul. Maybe I can just let a little out today, perhaps I can just see what it feels like, if just for a brief moment.

So, what exactly was it that pried open the lid? It was a simple, sweet gift from a friend with a card that had the following inside:

I don't know how you feel, but I want you to know that I think, pray and hope for you every day. This reminded me of you.

"The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only 'I’m sorry for your loss.'


But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives.

Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?" - Laura Bush


Perhaps the "easy way" isn't the easiest way, after all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back to reality


Whew. Waking up this morning was a bit rough, eh? I don't know what it is about little breaks, but my body seems to adjust to sleeping in much more quickly than it transitions back into the daily grind. Unfortunately (fortunately?) my alarm clock was there, ever faithfully, to remind me that it was time to awake at 6 a.m. You know, before the sun rose.

Regardless of the cold snap to reality this morning, Thanksgiving was wonderful. We spent a lot of time driving (and even in the rain at some points, bleck) but enjoyed the opportunity to soak in some quality family time and fill our bellies with plenty of turkey, stuffing and pie. More than once. It was delightful, and after losing a few pounds during recovery from my recent surgery, much needed.

Speaking of which, I finally realized what the doctor meant when she told me that I should return to exercise when I "felt like myself again." It seemed like a funny thing to say, but I knew exactly what she meant when the bright sun seared through my eyelids and woke me up on Friday morning: I was me again. Not a slow-moving, ouch-everything-hurts-ing, lets-just-sit-on-the-couch-please cranky pants. It took 9 days. I have slowly returned to my routine, which makes me feel even more like myself. I even joined my husband for a rousing P90X routine last night, which has left me feeling some serious muscle soreness today. It's good to be back.

It's also good to be back to cleaning, baking, Christmas decorating and enjoying the little things-ing. Like a glass of red wine and a slice of butterscotch cheesecake, made from scratch. Or, a warm mug of green tea and the "good blanket." (Yes, there is such a thing. There's a good blanket, which is a quilt, and the mediocre blanket, which is small and not cozy.) It's good to have those things back, too.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful


{HT}

On Thanksgiving day, nearly 15 years ago, my cousin David died very suddenly and very young. It was completely unexpected. He was a very kind, incredibly gentle, amazing person. He was only in his twenties. Then, he was gone. It felt like all we had to remember him by was a holiday, one that we have always raised our glasses and toasted to his memory as a family. It is his day. It can be difficult to gather to celebrate a day that reminds you of a terrible time, a bitter moment in your life that reminds you of another's death. But as a family, we still gather on this day for Thanks. Because we are thankful.

I was young and perhaps not fully cognisant of the weight of what was happening on Thanksgiving that day. I will never forget the panic that filled the room as we sat at the dinner table and watched the paramedics run swiftly down the stairs carrying him on a stretcher. I knew it would change everything. I had never experienced death, not like this. But, you don't have to be an adult to feel the immense weight of a life changing event as it unfolds. It can be hard to understand the reason that someone so young, a life filled with such promise, can be taken away. I still don't understand. But now, as an adult, I still feel the palpable weight of the day and the weight of what it really means. I am thankful for David and for my family. Thankful for his memory, for the moment that we could all spend together in those last moments. Life is precious, beautiful, and fleeting--and it is never more apparent to me than on Thanksgiving.

So on today, David's day, I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's not what you do


{From HT}

A lot of times, it feels like someone is picking on us. All of the awful things just come tumbling down at once like an avalanche and we feel all sorts of miserable. We wish for another life. We hope that things will turn out like we dreamed. Or, we daydream about what it might be like to have another life, a different version of our current reality. One where everything is perfect. Where we have the opportunities to enjoy the things we don't have time for now. A moment to drink in all of the things we take for granted in this life. In that other world, the perfect one, maybe we could get it right if given just a small opportunity. We'd savor all the things we don't have, drink in the joy and know what it feels like to be perfectly, simply, happy.

I'm just as guilty as you are. I wonder what it would be like to have a child, one that has my husband's blue eyes, my crazy blond hair and a serious attitude problem. {I'm pretty sure I sat behind her in church on Sunday.} I dream of what it might be like to be pregnant. I'm curious what it's like to plan for children. I'd love to know what it feels like to see a positive pregnancy test on the bathroom counter instead of throwing hundreds of dollars away on tests that all say the same thing: NOT PREGNANT. Or, to be surprised by a plus sign when I wasn't planning for one. A 'happy accident,' if you will.

It's in those little moments, the ones where we secretly wish for another life, that we begin to realize there are things that are meant to be and there are things that are not meant to be. It seems a bit savage to think that we aren't meant to have a dream, a beautiful blessing, or that we'll never know a certain joy, but it is true. Maybe the the thing that is meant to be is that your dream isn't meant to be.

My mother sent me an e-mail last month. She said she felt compelled to go to church one day after dropping her students off at gym class (she is a teacher at a Catholic elementary school). The priest saying mass said something that struck her: He said, "It's not what you do; it's what God is doing through you that's important." Awful things happen to us, but they happen for a reason: that's why Susan G. Komen got breast cancer, why every other person in this world who was dealt a poor hand received the worst cards in the deck. You can't get pissed off at God for your troubles when you see what good comes of your having them.

And you can't wish your current life away, wishing for a different life instead of this one. Things could always be easier, better, simpler. But they're not. And they're not for a reason. For me, I don't know the reason. You probably don't either. I haven't realized the good in my troubles just yet. But I know one thing for sure: I can only realize the good of this situation with two feet firmly planted in this life, not grasping for the one I wish I had. Maybe we're meant to save a child from a terrible life. Perhaps I'm meant to remind you to treasure the moments and blessings you sometimes take for granted because they came easily to you. Or maybe we aren't meant to have children at all. I just don't know where this path leads.

More than anything, I find myself yearning for the good that I see in things that others might see as awful. The thing about being dealt (what you perceive is) a poor hand, is that you feel this compelling force, urging you to find the positive, good things in the potential misery. It's as though I can avoid the emptiness by feeling its joy and realizing it's a blessing, not a curse.

So, I listen closely to the quiet in my home and think of how loud it would be with children. I am thankful for the peace. And I sleep soundly through the night because there isn't a screaming baby to keep me awake. I find joy in being well-rested. I leave the house alone to easily run errands for hours on end. I treasure the time alone. I leave sharp things on the coffee table. I don't feel guilty for it. I take long vacations and naps. We spend money that doesn't have to go to a child's care. I lay on the couch whenever I feel like it. I take a shower whenever I feel like it. I go on bike rides with my husband. I admire my flat stomach in the mirror. I listen to everyone complain about their children, their bodies, their lives. They are inconvenienced, tired and annoyed. I used to wait patiently for the follow-up. You know, the part where they say, "But's it's all worth it. I wouldn't trade my life before children for this one." Most of the time, it never comes. Perhaps those who feel that way never speak of the joy that resides amongst the chaos because it's easily forgotten. I just don't know.

It is in those moments, where I listen to the quiet that reverberates throughout my home, that I realize there is joy to be found in every moment life has to offer us. I know that the potential decisions that plague my brain don't have to be made this instant. I realize that sometimes the moment you think you have it all figured out, life serves you a palette cleanser before the next course of the meal. The choas is actually happening in concert, by the book and according to the plan. Waiting for the moment it can peek through the clouds and work through you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It was worth the pain


For some reason, I am very fascinated by pain. We all experience it, live through it and know what it feels like. We work through the physical pain, mental anguish, spiritual crumble--all forms of pain. But often we say things like, "It was worth the pain," or look back on a painful experience as something that has helped us to grow or change in some positive way.

But, is the pain always worth it? What was the point of your scraped knee as a child? What was the meaning behind a broken arm or a bee sting? How about a broken heart? There are forms and avenues of pain that most would agree are, in fact, worth it. Like childbirth. Or life-saving surgery. Or, a heartbreaking failure that led to an epiphany about your life's path. While subjective, those pains are all worth it. Perhaps the confusion enters the room when we attempt to justify or understand why the pain happened within the experience, rather than looking back on the past.

Pain comes in so many forms that we often forget what it feels like. We can recall the experience of being in pain, but soon the actual feeling fades away and we're left with the relief that it's over rather than the agony of the ache. We learn not to place our hands on the hot stove or stick our fingers in the door, but does pain always have to be a learning experience?

I'm currently recovering from minor surgery, which is painful. Physically, of course. But in the end, I would say this the pain is actually worth it. Sometimes, enduring the pain to find the answers to your previously unanswered questions is worth it--even if it comes with the medical suggestion for further, more invasive surgery. But I believe we should only burn one painful bridge at a time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Feeling hot, hot, hot

For some unknown reason, I have an extremely healthy paranoia regarding everything known to man the major appliances in my home. I'm just convinced that they will suddenly stop working at some pivotal moment in my life and I will be forced to live in misery for an extended period of time. It's really just too much for me to potentially handle. Intolerable, even. I find myself praying and begging each time I use some crusty old thing that resides in my basement in the hopes of my words and talks with the Big Guy convincing these devices to stick around for another 18 years.

Sometimes, though, it's important to realize that waiting for something to die suddenly isn't always the solution to a potential problem. You should just kill it before it dies. You know, because there really are moments when an ounce of prevention is the best recipe. I can't cook or bake, but that's what the person in our house who does those things tells me about cooking and baking. Then, there's the realization that the energy savings 30% tax credit is expiring shortly. Either way, we have come to realize that it is time to say goodbye to an old friend whose time has come.



Say hello to my water heater. It's old. And crusty. And is now of legal voting age. Sure, it works just fine during my overly steamy 30-minute showers. It works when two showers are operating in concert, even. But what about its age, I often ask myself when staring at its ugly mug and an orange sticker that says "1992 inspection report: PASSED." The only thing I passed in 1992 was a multiplication times table or cursive writing test. Then, I went out to recess and played four-square. That was a while ago, people. I mean, I could probably still pass those tests and play a mean game of kickball, but that particular part of my brain is probably resting upon cinder blocks with lots of gross cobwebs. Mostly because I need the space to store information about how to thwart potential burglars, make witty comments and remember that my dog likes to be scratched behind her left ear NOT her right.

{EW.}


I just can't help but think about all the great times we've had together, what with all the influences hot water plays in my life. Like, all those times I was scalded. Or, all the occasions that it took approximately 5 million seconds to warm the shower to a suitable temperature. Stuff like that. I think the water heater's best moment, however, was the time my husband stole its insulated blanket to keep his home brewed beer warm instead. Right. Because it made sense to keep the beer warm instead of the water heater, economically speaking. I'm sure it was crying on the inside from this deep, cutting insult. Or, outwardly threatening to burn me.


{Don't make me hurt you. I'll do it. Swear.}

But then again, how can I be expected to feel sorry for someone who openly admits to being a miser? That's right. A miser. I know, the last time you heard someone referred to by such a name you were watching "A Christmas Story" or pretending like it was the year 1892. Or, you were hanging out in my gross basement. But if you're going to be a miser about anything, it might as well be energy. Or dog treats.



{Maybe you'd have more friends if you weren't such a miser.}

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Thought


{From HT}


"Love yourself.
Make peace with who you are
and where you are at this moment in time.

Listen to your heart.
If you can't hear what it's saying in this noisy world,
make time for yourself. Enjoy your own company.
Let your mind wander among the stars.

Try. Take chances. Make mistakes.
Life can be messy and confusing, but it's also full of surprises.
The next rock in your path may be a stepping stone.

Be happy. When you don't have what you want,
want what you have. Make do.
That's a well-kept secret of contentment.

There aren't any shortcuts to tomorrow.
You have to make your own day.
To know where you're going is only part of it.
You need to know where you've been too.
And if you get lost, don't worry.
The people who love you will find you.
Count on it.

Life isn't days and years.
It's what you do with time
and with all the goodness and grace
that's inside of you.

Make a beautiful life...
The kind of life you deserve."


~From a Hallmark card

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Business

I'm beginning to develop a major complex in regards to the recurring theme of "business" in my life. As a sprite, overly talkative child I was repeatedly told I needed to learn how to "mind my own" business. As I grew older, I yearned to "have a career in" business. It seemed that the word and idea behind this concept was constantly taunting me while simultaneously pulling me in with its sexy wiles. Business was very cunning.

I'm not good, as you can imagine, at minding my own business. It all started when I emerged from the womb. It manifested itself in the first grade on my report card and hasn't let up since. But I wasn't accepted into business school at the age of 18, unfortunately. Perhaps that's the hole in this little story of mine. That a career in business was not meant to be. The irony!

However, a career in never learning how to ever mind my own business was born. I'm nosy. And like to insert myself in conversations. And gossip? Getouttahere. I love gossip. I'm bad at keeping secrets, but I sure love juicy gossip. But this leads to another concept at which I am really and truly inept: knowing when things are no one's business. I am an over-sharer. I tell people all sorts of things about myself because I think that everything that is MY business could possibly be THEIR business, too. I've been thinking about this for 5 seconds and I really believe that we should consider going into business together. Wouldn't we be great partners? We could run this town, you and I. Let's join my business AND your business and we will soon be millionaires. Successful, nosy, millionaires.

Or something like that. But it's safe to say that I'm married to a man who likes to say things like, "That is no one's business." Mostly it's about things that I didn't even consider not being the business of almost everyone in my vicinity. I simply don't understand what's your business and what's not your business. It's really a concept that completely eludes me at every moment of every day. It's almost as though all of my business is an acid, slowly burning through my brain until I spit it out and make a big announcement. Usually about something that is not, realistically, your business whatsoever.

But, as I like to point out on occasion because I like to be right all of the time, sometimes sharing your business is a good way to get people to shut their yappers. Example? Telling one person who can't keep anything to themselves something so they successfully share your business with everyone and people stop asking you when you're going to have kids already. Because even though that really is not the business of anyone else in my business organization, it is an awkward enough concept that people will say nothing because they don't know what to say and--AND--they know it's not their business. It's juicy gossip, but none of your business. So now, instead of asking ridiculous pointed questions, I just get pathetic glances and sad smiles. Because everyone knows it is none of their business, but they feel like I'm a wounded bird of some kind that deserves oodles of fanfare, but no mentioning of business matters.

This example, however, is not a strong argument for the business department at our house. It's really not their business, but I'm just dying to tell people all sorts of things that really aren't their business. But I feel obligated to tell them anyway. For some reason. I have lots of business to share, like ____________ which means that I will be ______________ next week. Even though it's scary, it's actually a good thing, because it means I won't be_____________________ anymore.

Aren't you glad I shared all my business with you? Madlibs, anyone?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bliss


I think sometimes people use the phrase, "Ignorance is bliss" when they mean to tell you that it's easier to pretend something doesn't exist or isn't a big deal than it is to face the facts. Sometimes, it's just simpler that way. They would rather live with their heads into the clouds, pretending like everything is great instead of facing the horror or disppointment of the truth. Perhaps it's self-preservation. Or, maybe it's just not as messy that way. Whatever the reason, know this: you can't avoid it--whatever it might be--forever.

The mess will arrive on your doorstep one cool day at dusk, bags in hand, and shove its way inside as soon as you open the door. It will stick around, staring at you from the corner of the room, until you acknowledge its presence. You cannot avoid it forever.

This is why I have vowed to avoid ignorance at all costs. I face the demons head on as soon as they perch themselves on my bony shoulders, knowing the weight of what they represent. We all have our battles to fight, and there will always be things that come easily to me that won't come easily to you. Or vice versa. The point is, no one has a perfect life. We each have those demons that rest heavily upon our shoulders, waiting for us to start staring in their direction. Waiting for us to ignore them, hoping they decide to go away so they can grow larger.

And they always do. Grow larger, that is. Or, blindside us when we least expect them to come running from the corner. Perhaps they even knock on our doors at 1:45 a.m. before creepily retreating to their waiting car. For whatever reason, I firmly believe that pretending everything is OK is a temporary fix--a bandaid over a large, gaping wound.

I guess ignorance is bliss for just a moment, until ignorance is unraveling.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Knock, knock

{The results of our last break-in}

Who's there? Creepyface. Creepyface who? Uh, it's just Creepyface. That's the only name my mother gave me before I knocked on your door at 1:45 a.m. last night, sprinted to my waiting car and got spooked because your dog was barking at me.

Oh, you too? Gee, I thought I was the only one who had strange things happen at their home in the midst of the night. Seriously, what's so exciting about our little house in the country that everyone wants to come inside and take a look around?

Two years ago, someone broke into our house. In the middle of the day while my husband and I were at work. You know, because we have actual jobs instead of stealing things to make a living. They stole jewelry and took away my will to believe that I'm safe inside the confines of my own home. You know, the normal stuff. The enormous douche who broke into our house (and the homes of roughly 7 neighbors) was caught not long after and now fills his social calendar with daily events at the State Penitentiary. Lunch at 11:45, running around the yard at 2:15, push ups in his cell at 3:30, stuff like that. I'm sure it's a great time.

But that was almost 3 years ago. That dude is in the Pen, thinkin' bout what he done wrong! Surely, the rest of the degenerate world realizes that he took anything of value from our home and the big "I gots lots of stuff in here you want" sign that used to sit on our roof is gone now! Don't they know that we own just three televisions, none of which have screens that could be described as flat or were made after the year 1998? Haven't they gotten the memo that what jewelry I do own is plastered upon my body at all times? Of course, they realize that our computer is 5 years old, right?

I'm not sure if that particular all-points bulletin was distributed to the entire e-mail list of crooks, losers and idiots, however. I say this because last night at approximately 1:45 a.m., someone knocked at the door. Someone who the dog really, really, wanted to maim. And by the time we realized what was happening and got to said door, this person was gone. Well, actually they were sitting in a car by the road. Where they sat for a few moments before driving sloooowly away. Which they had to likely SPRINT to in the 15 seconds it took us to reach the door. Leaving just their wet footprints for us to remember them by. And even those were temporary.

I don't know who it was, I'm not sure what they wanted, but I do know this: I'm glad my husband chose to find an over sized lab mix abandoned in a garage in college instead of a teacup poodle. Everybody knows teacup poodles are great companions, but no strange person at your door at 1:45 a.m. is running from a small pooch named after fancy china. It's true.

Things like this always remind me of Stephen King. Not because I think it was a rabid dog named Cujo at the door, but because it reminds me of an interview where he was asked what would scare him. His answer? The doorbell ringing at 2:00 a.m. He flips on the light and a clown is standing there on his porch. That is scary. Unfortunately, these foot prints didn't look clown-sized.

But the bigger question is this: who was this person? Why did they come to my door? Why did they run away? Why didn't they TP my tree? Why not blow up my mailbox or deface my Mother Mary statue? I mean, those things would make sense. More sense than knocking, doing nothing (don't worry, I checked) and leaving, anyway. All I know is this: someone who has something legitimate to do or say does not come to your door at 1:45 a.m. and run away when your Labrador retriever indicates a strong interest in eating them for a Taco Bell-like "third meal." That or they decided that they really didn't need directions, anyway.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just Snookin' for a good time

I love Halloween. I enjoy, with every shred of my being, dressing up in the most rediculous costume possible. It's almost like I enjoy my own public humiliation. Which is why I donned my finest orange faux tan this weekend to transform myself into America's Sweetheart, Snooki.



The funniest part about my outift is that I was Amy Winehouse two years ago, and the hair poof is pretty much identical to that of the Snookster. Who knew?

The only downside to my costume? Well, there's the orange streaks left on my seatbelt from my orange skin. Oh, and trying to fit that oversized New Jersey poof into my Honda Accord. And clearly into the frame of a photograph as well. Then, of course, no one can take you seriously in an adult conversation with your zebra print bra hanging out and a poof the size of your torso on your head. Of course.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday Thought...on a Friday

{From Happy Things, as usual.}

“Did they live happily ever after? They did not. No one ever does, in spite of what the stories may say. They had their good days, as you do, and they had their bad days, and you know about those. They had their victories, as you do, and they had their defeats, and you know about those, too. There were times when they felt ashamed of themselves, knowing they had not done their best, and there were times when they knew they had stood where their God had meant them to stand. All I’m trying to say is that they lived as well as they could.” -The Eyes of the Dragon, Steven King

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What's Sooo Funny, Nancy?


I'm not one to frequently talk politics, but the constant onslaught of politics that has been arriving in my mailbox twice daily has successfully worn me down. Politics really are a funny thing. This is because most of the time, they aren't really achieving anything.

Allow me to explain. See the postcard above? It's from some organization I've never heard of, mailed to our home in what I can only surmise is an attempt to convince me that I should attempt to stop Nancy from laughing at me so much. I should vote this way because Nancy Pelosi is laughing at ME. ME, of all people! Why would she do such a thing? Doesn't she know that I think her necklace is totally adorable? No one, of sane mind or of ability to accept proper compliments, would ever laugh at me. Then, as if Nancy laughing at me in a truly awful fashion wasn't enough, they dropped the bomb: I had a mission. My mission was simple: to wipe smiles off of faces. Or else. Or else the joke, as it were, is on me. So much for my old goal of bringing joy to the hearts of mankind.



You know, I can't help but laugh right along with Nancy Pelosi. Mostly because I hate to think she's laughing at me and not with me, but mostly because she's right: it's funny. Funny because this postcard, which is meant to persuade, is doing nothing of the sort. Telling me that someone is dumb, incompetent, laughing at me, or rolling over me doesn't convince me that you are smart. It insults my intelligence. Why? Because I deserve to be given an impartial glimpse into what each candidate believes. I want to know what you stand for. I want to know what you're going to do for me, regardless of my political affiliation. I don't care if your opponent is a witch. I'm not all that concerned that something is so funny that it should be spelled "Sooo" instead of its real spelling. Again, my intelligence is insulted.

But here's the other thing that has me laughing: by far, the subject matter of vast majority of political items received at our home? Guns. Bunches and bunches of guns. One flier even had a heaping pile of guns on display and encouraged us to tell the "gun grabbers" to leave us, our lifestyle and er, guns, alone. Yeah, that's right! Quit trying to grab my guns. No one likes a grabby pants. Oh, and perhaps grabbing things like guns is a bad idea anyway, no? Safety first, grabbing second!

That's great, right? People who will work to "preserve our way of life" and "let us wear our camouflage with some orange stuff so we don't get shot" and "give us permission to sit in a tree stand for hours" and "feed the deer and spread urine on the ground." Those things are all both fine and dandy. Really. However, we don't do any of those things. We don't own a gun. We don't hunt. Really, we do nothing involving guns ever. So, I'm curious as to how we got on the "Please send multiple fliers to our home on gun rights, concealed carry, hunting, guns and other guns. Please. Pretty, pretty please." Because in the end, what's sooooooo funny is that the joke, as it were, appears to be on them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Zing and pep


{Sorry, Megyn, you're far too zing-y & peppy for severe weather.}

There was a very serious, incredibly powerful storm that passed through our area yesterday. There were words tossed around like "tornado" and "warning" and "take cover" and "go to safety." It was even suggested that I drive my car into a ditch to take cover. Ironically, I was home for lunch at the time that these words were delivered by an overly peppy weather lady with perfect hair, smart-looking glasses and flawless red lips. You know, to really drive home the point of severity with lots of zing and pep.

I think irony is a pretty neat concept. Except when it involves me forgetting my umbrella in the rain. Or, wearing open toed shoes in the snow. Then, well, it's just my own stupidity at work. Not some funny ironic concept presented by Alanis Morissette. But irony was actually alive and well at our house yesterday. Something funny happened as my eyes were glued to the peppy weather girl: she uttered the words "take cover" and then the satellite dish went out and the dog and I were left in total silence. Well, except for the intense winds and rain outside.

Our dog Rudi does this funny thing when there are weird sounds: she looks skeptical, meets my eyes and waits for me to give her permission to worry. Or freak out. Like, when something falls in the bathroom or someone pulls in the driveway. Yesterday, as the TV went silent and the tornado sirens began to blare, she gave me the look. I quickly confirmed that yes, it is suitable for us to freak out now. So, we went into the basement. To freak out. Together. Without television-based assistance to let us know that we didn't need to freak out. It was a lot of fun.

The threat quickly passed and we were left unharmed. Crisis averted. However, this confirms my belief that zing, pep and red lipstick have no place in the severe weather warnings department.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Crying, much like a wolf


{Smirking, blue-eyed wolf from here}

In my mind, every single thing that is "wrong" with me is an emergency. Like, my head pounds when I stand up too quickly and I probably have a brain tumor. Or, my elbow is acting funny and I think I have a hairline fracture from all those kettlebell throws I've been doing lately. I'm so worried about all the nothing that I'm sure when the something comes along, no one will believe me. I really have been crying wolf just about every moment of my life, really.

I'm a whiny baby. I complain. A lot. Sure, there are "real" and "actual" things that are medically wrong with me that have been confirmed by medical professionals. Like, my crazy and broken thyroid gland. Or, my too-high-for-their-own-good hormone levels. Or, my jacked up uterus. Real stuff. Not life-threatening stuff, just stuff. Stuff that is really and actually wrong, but will not likely cause my death prior to the age of 94.

So in the interest of living to said ripe old age, I elected to get a flu shot yesterday. Miracle of miracles, it was painless! I didn't feel a thing! The stick of the needle was just fine, as was its removal. Fine. I was both footloose AND fancy-free yesterday. Others complained, had to sit down, looked away and almost passed out. But me? ME! I did none of the aforementioned behaviors. I made jokes and appreciated that I only had to get one shot for THREE vaccines. Even H1N1! But not Bieber Fever, unfortunately. I even went for a jaunty 6 mile run afterwards, that was how fantastic and wonderful I was feeling and looking.

But that was yesterday. That was before I reached for the cinnamon in the cabinet above the oven to sprinkle on my delicious oatmeal this morning and thought perhaps someone had shot me in the upper arm. It's probably just a flesh wound, but still. Because I'm telling you, that easy and breezy flu shot from yesterday is aching and breaking something fierce today. I even have a bruise. A bruise! Oh, and I think that I'm dying. Because lifting my arm above my shoulder makes me think that my muscles are rotting from the inside out from that flu shot. Can it rot my muscles? Was it inserted into the wrong portion of my smaller than average arm? Maybe there was an air bubble? Perhaps the medicine is just sitting in my muscles, rendering it completely useless.

There's a lot of worry about, really. Except the threat of Influenza Types A, B and H1N1. No worries there.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday Thought

{Photo from here}


“I believe in the Sun even when it is not shining. I believe in Love even when I do not feel it. I believe in God even when He is silent.”



— Lines scrawled on a cellar wall in Cologne, which was destroyed by bombing in WWII

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A mouse, a frog and a roach walk into a bar...


Actually, I'm just going to admit this up front: that's a lie. The mouse, the frog and the roach actually did not walk into a bar. They didn't order drinks. There weren't any stools for them to sit on. There wasn't a bartender with a towel. There were no top shelf or well options. Or, draft beer.

So, what was there? Well, there was my garage. And an assortment of glue traps. Remember the last time I set up glue traps? Yeah, you do. This happened. For the record, I still maintain that I wouldn't poop my pants if I was stuck in a glue trap. You know, because I buy the variety that features soothing anesthetic. For a less painful and more peaceful ease into Kingdom Come. It's worth the investment, if you ask me.

But, that last foray into disturbing sights in my garage was months ago. Just a distant memory, really. Until it all came crashing back into my brain yesterday when I beheld a most disturbing sight: it was a virtual cornucopia of dead or dying animals stuck into a glue trap. After a few moments of wondering whether I should cry, vomit or run away, I took a closer look. The glue trap had trapped the following creatures:

1. A small, dead frog
2. An incredibly large, dead cockroach
3. A screaming mouse (that had not, in fact, sh*t itself)

I suppose you could say my trap, yet again, did its job. But that's doesn't negate the fact that I do (seriously!) have feelings and felt great sorrow in the death and destruction occurring in the home for our vehicles. None of those things really did anything to deserve my glue traps, but alas their days were numbered.

While I might be 27 years old, I more closely resemble a 7 year-old in the majority of situations and penned the following e-mail to my husband:


Subject: R.I.P.


There are crazy things happening in our garage: I caught a mouse, a frog and what I believe to be the world's largest cockroach (it was the same size as the mouse) in a glue trap today.

His response was simple and to the point:
 
I guess I'm impressed, but I can't help but wonder something haunting about this scenario. What did that poor frog do to deserve such savagery?

Monday, October 18, 2010

The last ride


After some serious whining convincing, my husband headed out on a bike ride with me yesterday afternoon. I said things like, "Aww c'mon" and "One last time for old time's sake." It worked. We dropped our obligations and football games and headed out on a familiar ride together. It was a lengthy 17-mile ride and it was worth the effort of every whiny word that came out of my mouth. The weather was perfect, the ride was enjoyable and the scenery? Ah yes, the scenery. It was breathtaking: the leaves are right at that point where they are gorgeous and still clinging to the trees.

I love to run, but there's just something about riding a bicycle that makes me feel alive. I don't know if it's the danger, the speed or the wind in my face, but it just has a way of pulling me in. At our house, bike rides are a staple in the summer months. We head out for hours together on our road bikes, discovering new rural routes, tiny little forgotten towns and fending off strange dogs. It's our thing. So yesterday, I decided we needed to end outdoor bike season on a picture-perfect fall day. It seemed fitting.

We headed out on familiar routes, breezed through our local park and admired the changing leaves. It was the perfect ending to our summer of bicycle rides. But, there is always a moment in every ride where I'm convinced that I'm going to die. You know, like when I am oogling some pretty house and my bike almost goes off the road and into a ditch or the weird rock that throws my front wheel into a tailspin or that car of teenagers gets just a bit too close.  It happens a lot. Luckily, I've never been seriously injured on my bike.

The thing I love most about riding a bicycle isn't the exercise (though my rear and thighs would tell you differently today) it's the tiny moments that make me feel completely free. They usually occur in the midst of a free-fall down some outlandishly large hill at 23-ish MPH. There are a few of these hills on our usual routes, and they always cause the same rush of emotions: complete fear of death and disaster, followed by complete peace and freedom. You know the feeling: the moment when you're free falling and you think you're going to crash and burn, but you will yourself into the freedom of the moment instead. I often close my eyes, if only for a moment, just to soak in that feeling. It's just a few moments, really. But it makes pushing through that "certain death" feeling worth it. Because it's so amazing.

We've now hung our bikes away in the garage. Until next year. But it sure was nice to go out on a high note.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Today's Feeling on Yesterday's Thoughts


{An amazing view from the back porch this morning}


“The only way to get what you really want, is to know what you really want. And the only way to know what you really want, is to know yourself. And the only way to know yourself, is to be yourself. And the only way to be yourself is to listen to your heart.” -Mike Dooley

I have always been the girl who knows exactly what she wants. I don't mince words, avoid conversation or dance around what I want. Even as a child, I always made sure that my opinion was heard--even when no one asked for it. I've always been outspoken when it comes to the things I yearn to have in my life.

Growing up, my family was typical. My parents have been married for over 30 years. I am one of four children. I went to Catholic school. I went to college. I carefully thought out my every move, for every moment of my life. There was no major trauma in our lives, no big problem, no life-altering issues. We were very vanilla.

My adult life has been no different; my life has abounded with more blessings that I can count. Things have worked out perfectly. I lay in bed each night, thankful. Grateful. Wondering what I did to deserve all of this.

So, the moment I realized I couldn't have everything I wanted, I panicked. Things have always been typical. Life has always been pretty easy. The blessings of life have come naturally, almost. So why now? Why, in the middle of perfection, was something I wanted whisked away?

Like most things, it took time to understand. Dedicated moments of thought to come to one important conclusion: why not now? Why not, in the midst of a bunch of hunky and dory, be handed a game changer? It's not as though there's a good time for anything awful, anyway.

But, when awful things happen to us, we like to say, "Why me?" But I believe it's not about that--it's about saying why not me--or you, or anyone else who has led a blessed, typical life? Why are we more deserving of a blessing that you?

I thought I wanted to be a mother. I thought I wanted to have biological children. With an epidural, of course. I thought I wanted to be a parent, like my parents were to me. Being told this wouldn't happen made me question what I wanted, because I remembered something funny: I didn't always want to be a mother. As a child, I wasn't interested in babies. I wasn't good with children. I wasn't motherly. I didn't have a maternal bone in my body. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I wanted children, I would have said no. Because I didn't.

My heart changed since then and perhaps, it had been harboring those motherly feelings all along. It can be difficult to understand the origin of a seed buried deep within our hearts, waiting to sprout. But when life happens, it has a way of changing our hearts. Re-prioritizing our souls. God has a way of calling us home, whispering His plans for us softly in our ear.

Did I always want to adopt? Did I feel an intense calling to adoption? No, no I did not. Neither of us did. Adoption was not something we had dreamed of doing or a place we had ever planned to travel. We weren't even going to visit for the weekend. It was not, as they say, on our radar. We said things like, "Good for them" or "That's great" about adoption, but that was it. But, that was then.

That was before we listened to our hearts, sitting side by side in the waiting room of a doctor's office. We realized they were telling us that God was calling us to another home. He was whispering his plans for us louder than any doctor or nurse could scream; it was an epiphany in the cold, awful room of a doctor's office. Some of life's best dreams are created in the most unexpected places.

I remember that moment, when the nurse with mousy brown hair cropped into an awful bobbed haircut stopped, midway through a speech she had likely made hundreds of times, and looked at us. She had packets of information on her lap and vials of drugs in her hands, describing IVF in a monotonous tone. She stopped mid-sentence, stared at our faces and said, "Oh. You aren't ready for this." 

She was right; it was like she just knew. We weren't ready. We were never going to be ready. It was as though she could see our hearts were leading us in another direction. They were. And as luck would have it, they led us to adoption. The path was not the one we had chosen and it was not conventional. It sometimes felt as though we had chosen adoption because it was just one of two options left. But, I believe it was there all along. I believe this path had been carved out for us already, just waiting for us to arrive, hearts in our hands.

As it turns out, knowing what you really want doesn't always come easily. It takes time to process, time to understand. And it means you have to realize that what you wanted isn't always what you want. Life is about evolution, not refusing to let go of your old dreams.

Today, I stand waiting to be a mother. Waiting for what seems like an eternity for an opportunity to prove that I am a mother. Because I know that I will be a mother. I will have children. I will be a parent, like my parents were to me. It might not look like I imagined and it won't happen the way I thought, but I know in my heart that this is what I want. This is what we wanted all along.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday Thought

“The only way to get what you really want, is to know what you really want. And the only way to know what you really want, is to know yourself. And the only way to know yourself, is to be yourself. And the only way to be yourself is to listen to your heart.” -Mike Dooley


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The enemy

There is a saying: great is the enemy of good. I've seen it spun in many directions, but I believe it serves as a reminder. A reminder that sometimes, good enough is good enough. Sometimes, we don't have to shoot for perfection. It's OK to spend a lazy day on the couch. It's not the end of the world if you wait one more day to clean the toilets. And those dishes? They aren't hurting anyone by staying in the sink. We sometimes feel that being great is a requirement; as though everyone who depends upon us won't survive otherwise.

Your spouse, your children, your family, your boss, your toilets---do they know when you aren't willing to sacrifice yourself in the pursuit of great? Are they satisfied with good instead? Are you?

We tell ourselves we aren't enough this or a good enough that, but what does it really mean? I sometimes wonder if Martha Stewart ever says, "Well, this is good enough. I'll stop here." Or, does she kill herself in a constant pursuit of greatness? Does she ever stay in her sweatpants and watch TV, or is she always being perfect? Isn't she tired? When does she sleep?

What I have come to understand is that great--or the constant pursuit of great--is exhausting. It's exhausting because we can't be all great, all the time. We can't be a stupendous cook, a perfect spouse, a great housekeeper, a model parent, a spectacular employee and still have time to just be us. You are those things, true, but that's not all you have to offer the world. There has to be room for you in there somewhere.

Your heart pulls you in another direction or your soul reminds you that some things just aren't meant to be that way every moment of every day. Some days, it feels like we're just barely balancing everything and other days, we excell at each of the tasks we are called to complete. Admitting that you aren't great at something is painful, because it feels like you're admitting defeat. Or, you fear that someone you love will be hurt in the process. But those who love you--those who depend upon your good and your great--will still survive and love you anyway.

It's OK to let your guard down. It's just super fine and really quite dandy to let go of the great so you don't miss out on the good. Because you and I both know that sometimes, forcing the great means you lose out on the good. And good isn't so bad.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pa pa pa Poker Face


I have a lot of things. Like, a way with words. Or, a lack of gracefulness. And, overabundance of affection for my dog. But the things that I do not have, well, I just don't have them in any sense of the word. High atop this list is my lack of ability to hide my emotions. It's like I'm Jim Carrey. My mouth and body can attempt to fool you, but my face? My face never lies. It always tells the truth, even when the truth hurts.

My face is always giving me away. I can't stop smiling. Or, my face turns red. Or, I roll my eyes. Sometimes, I just exude dirty looks. I just can't help it--I think they just come right out of my pores. My face has a mind of its own. It's as though the muscles in my face move in time with some foreign body that is not, well, my body. I think it, I sometimes say it, but I always tell you with my face. It's my thing.

Most people fail to understand this important fact about me. They think I'm being bitchy or judgemental. They don't understand that it's completely out of my control. My husband is no exception. He's usually the object of my uncontrollable facial expressions. Like, when he makes suggestions. My face lights up like a Christmas tree that was decorated with discontent, disapproval and disgust. Even the simplest of suggestions are met with my very opinionated face, usually before I have a chance to find something nice to say. It's as though my face grasps the opportunity to speak before my tongue even understands what has happened.

Sometimes, it's like a horror movie. My husband talks and says something and then pauses and says, "What was that look for?" or "You could at least listen to what I have to say first." or even, "If you don't like it, then why don't you just say so?"

I'm left grasping at my face, feeling all around to understand what it has just done to me. Typically, it's betrayed my trust. I was still processing the information! I had not yet had time to draw upon a really judgemental conclusion and my face already gave my hand away. It was a royal flush. And I stink at bluffing.

So, yesterday I had this epiphany that had my face in quite the tailspin. We have been invited to a Halloween party and I have spent great lengths of time trying to decide on the most hilarious, outlandish costume my face and I can conjure. We've been trying hard with a furrowed brow. I thought I wanted to be America's Sweetheart, Snooki from the Jersey Shore, but that was until yesterday. Until I realized that I could be something far superior: Lady Gaga in a meat dress.

You remember how excited I was about the dress made of meat, right? If you don't remember, I'll just tell you: it was exciting. My face and I realized, though, that we couldn't wear a dress made of real meat. It just wasn't a realistic goal. So, we came up with a far superior idea. It was equally exciting. My face was filled with excitement and I began dancing around, singing well-known chart topper, "Poker Face."

But, ironically, you CAN read my poker face. And it's filled with excitement about a faux meat dress.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Compromise

{Photo from here}

Yesterday, in baseball talk, was game 3. Or, the last opportunity to come THIS close to taking a time machine back to the wonderful year of 1995. Oh, what a wonderful year it was, that 1995. Ah yes, to be 12 years old again and having your main mode of transportation be a bike with a large pink banana seat. Those, as they say, were the days.

But alas, it did not happen. Not even a Cuban Missle on the Launching Pad could save the Redlegs from hopping into a time machine. But that's OK. At least we were able to put our mystery tickets to good use, after all that waiting in a virtual waiting room I did for last night's game. I didn't attend said game, though I did sit patiently in the waiting room, virtually speaking. Without a paper gown and the promise of cold metal instruments invading my body. Phew.

The funny thing about this game is that my husband did attend the game. Which was a two-hour drive. And began at 8:00 p.m. EST. And meant he didn't get home until 1:30 a.m. And the dog barked like a strange man was intruding our home when he arrived. OK, maybe I cared about that. That was loud. And potentially gave me a coronary.

But here's the thing about me: I don't care about things like this. I'm not the wife who gets upset that my husband left me alone all day. You know, because the 5 hours he spent conjuring up a defensive strategy for this week's football game wasn't "together time." It was him watching and re-watching football games and making funny diagrams with x's and o's and me catching up on the latest episodes of 48 Hours Mystery, Dateline and shoving my face with candy corn. (There are only a few weeks remaining of mass availability of this stuff, I need to eat as much as humanly possible, OK??)

So, by the time he finished up the defense (which he proudly held above his head like Simba from Lion King and proclaimed they were going to win) it was time for him to depart for game 3. And I wasn't bothered. Because every good football widow knows that football season is time to sit on the couch, eat candy corn and not having anyone judge you for eating candy corn (and almonds, OK?) for dinner. Because that's what I did. Oh, and green tea. And some crackers. I'm a grazer, what can I say?

But then something funny happened: he said thank you. Thank you? For what? For the fact that taking the dog for a walk was the only productive thing I did yesterday? For OD-ing on coffee and murder mystery shows that cause me to be paranoid about people giving me the side eye in public places? For trying to find the matches to all of your socks piled up in a sock pile in the laundry room next to the un-intentional pile of black Labrador hair?

No, for letting him go to game 3. I quickly reminded him that I'm not that wife. I'm not the wife that you have to ask for permission to go somewhere with your friends. I'm not the wife that makes you feel guilty for leaving and then coming home at 1:30 a.m. so the loud dog barking wakes me up from my slumber. No, that's not me. I'm the wife who hates to see you go, but loves to know that she can eat candy corn (and almonds) for dinner and continue with a judgement-free existence. Seems like an even trade to me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday Thoughts


{Photo from Happy Things, as usual}
 I have a lot on my mind today, which means I need to word vomit my thoughts all over you. You don't mind do you?

Grab a bucket:

I'm obsessed with Happy Things on Tumblr. It's totally awesome. And it makes me happy. That's the point, right?

I sometimes like to think about my life as a large collection of boiling pots. I find that when one pot begins to boil over, it affects the rest and creates a mess. And it makes it difficult for me to write. And be funny. I'm having a boiling pot moment today, which is why I'm just vomiting random thoughts instead of forming coherent ones.

My husband and I ran a 10K together on Sunday. It was 45 degrees outside and windy. And when I say "together" it's what I mean--we ran the entire 6.2 miles side by side. It was a rare sight, because my better half typically accuses me of things like "slowing him down." It was also hilarious, mostly because our running style is the polar opposite of our living life style. I'm intense and crazy in real life; my husband is laid-back and calm. When we run, we turn into one another. Needless to say, he "encouraged" us to run the 10K in 52 minutes and I "encouraged" us not to run so hard that we vomited on the finish line. You culd say it worked out nicely.

I want to eat, drink and make everything pumpkin-related. I'm obsessed. My most recent obsession: the world's easiest pumpkin muffins. Seriously, it's just one box of spice cake mix and one large (or two 'regular' cans) can of pumpkin. Mix. Put in muffin pan. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Then, try not to eat them all in one sitting. If you're crazy like I am, you can melt down candy corn and use it as frosting.

I just recently stopped getting expensive salon highlights and starting dying my hair at home instead. It's easier, faster and less scary than I could have imagined. Oh, and cheaper. Much cheaper. I used this and it's seriously the best hair color for blondes I have ever used. My hair actually looks and feels better and I have a strong interest in giving the fine people at L'Oreal an award or a high five for their awesomeness. Either way works.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I dream of intruders


Everyone, I have decided, thinks that they own the "best dog." Despite the fact that they sometimes do some obnoxious things, most of us forgive our dogs and continue living in our lives in such a way that we believe our dog is awesome.

I am no exception. I believe that our AKC Certified Purebred Labrador Retriever with papers that prove such lab mix, Rudi, is the best dog. She's well-mannered. She knows how to sit. And shake! She likes giving tongue baths (don't ask). She barks at strangers who step foot on our property. She asks nicely for a sample of cheese. She likes cucumbers. And watermelon. She's potty trained. And polite.

Despite her shortcomings (like chasing wild animals in the backyard and a now-infamous bout with explosive diarrhea after invading a nest of baby bunnies) we love her anyway. We really do think she's the best dog ever. But, she's not without her quirks.

Take her sleeping patterns, for example. I invested a semi-large sum of money in purchasing a delightfully rugged and comfortable bed for Rudi from L.L. Bean. It's canvas. And sage green with khaki piping. And sitting at the foot of our bed. She enjoys this bed, but only when we're looking.



When we aren't looking (or after we fall asleep, either way) she sneakily heads from this semi-expensive bed and sleeps on her other bed: the couch. The couch, she has decided is a far superior "bed" and being told not to use the couch as a bed only adds to the excitement. It's as though doing something forbidden makes the couch that much more comfortable!

Another thing she does at random is awake in the dead of night, run to the large 3-paneled glass doors on the back of the house and bark furiously. At 2:45 a.m. At nothing. Nothing at all. The thing about Rudi is that she only barks for a purpose. That purpose is usually a stranger at the door. So, naturally one would think that at such a time a random a scary, creepy man was on our property. Being creepy. And our guard dog caught him in the act, right? Wrong. Trust me, she's wrong. I've canvased the property with my mace. I've let the dog outside to attack whomever is hiding in the shadows. There's no one hiding. And there are no shadows.

So, one can only conclude that Rudi is dreaming. And like any good dog, she's dreaming of strange men in our yard. At 2:45 a.m. Naturally.

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