12.22.2010

And now, a Christmas Story (repost)

There is really no Christmas memory of mine that can top this one.

Enjoy...and Merry Christmas, friends!

********************************************************************************

It's that time of year again.

The stockings are hung. Carols abound. And the smell of all things delicious is continually wafting through the air.

It is said to be a time of peace. Of joy. Of forgiveness. Of hope. Of tradition.

While Christmas (excuse me, holiday) traditions vary from home to home, most include the belief in a gift-giver of sorts. Of unabashed over-indulgence. And of quality time spent with those you love.

In my family, such quality time begins with Grandma telling an often-inappropriate story around the Christmas tree (last year's topic: necking) and inevitably ends with my father reminding everyone about The Year Sara Was Duped...which goes a little something like this:

It was the most wonderful time of the year and I had just reached that age when the magic of Santa was beginning to wear off. While part of me desperately wanted to ignore any inklings that shed doubt on that jolly old soul, I couldn't help but feel a bit wary of it all.

So when my four-year-old brother Brian suggested we mail our lists off to the North Pole, I played it cool. Sure, I agreed to record his requests for Legos and a bicycle and any super-powered, turbo-engine item he could find, but I had no interest in including a wish list of my own. No matter how bad I wanted that American Girl doll.

I dutifully wrote down each item, sealed the envelope and gave it to my father to mail--expecting absolutely nothing in return. Time went on and within a few weeks I had all but forgotten my letter.

One Saturday afternoon, I found myself tapping my foot impatiently outside of Santa's Workshop as I waited in line to see the big guy (or the big guy's helper, I suppose). Surrounded by tufts of fake snow and smiling elves, I tried to mirror my brother's enthusiasm, but instead found myself squirming uncomfortably in my scratchy Christmas sweater as the runny-nosed toddler in front of me let out a piercing wail.

Three sticky candy canes later, we were finally--mercifully--at the front of the line.

As Brian tugged on my father's coat sleeve in eager anticipation, it was all I could do to paste a wan smile on my face and hope that the visit was over quickly. Brian bounded up the stairs as I trudged sulkily behind him until--

"Well come on up, Sara and Brian!" The Claus bellowed heartily. "So great to see you!"

I stopped in my tracks. Wait. Hold on a second. Did he just say...

"Dad!" I hissed. "He knows our names!"

My father smiled from underneath the (enormously cumbersome) videocamera. "Go on and say hello," he urged.

I continued up the stairs and as I approached, I heard Brian peppering Santa with questions.

"Don't you get hot in that suit? Did Jacob the Horrible make the Good List this year? Are you sure you know how to get to our house this year? We moved you know..." he said breathlessly.

"Ho! Ho! Ho! You sure are a spirited fellow," Santa chuckled. "So nice of you to join us, Sara!"

"Um, hey Santa," I mumbled.

"Santa! Santa!" Brian interrupted. "Don't you want to know what I want for Christmas?"

"Of course!" Santa said with a twinkle in his eye. "But Brian, I already know what you want for Christmas."

And to my complete and utter amazement, he proceeded to remove an envelope from the inside of his breast pocket.

MY envelope. With MY handwriting. It was the very list I had written!

Impulsively, I snatched the envelope from Santa's hand.

"But...but..." I spluttered. "But I wrote this! How did you--? I mean, I thought you weren't...I mean, Christina said that you were..." I trailed off, the color rising in my cheeks.

Delighted and oblivious, Brian rattled on with his latest additions to his list as I sat dumbfounded.

"...and Hot Wheels...and a parachute...and a Ninja Turtle!" he finished triumphantly.

"You sure will keep those elves busy this year! Ho! Ho! Ho!" Santa said, a bit of spittle gathering around his yellowing beard.

"And you?" Santa asked, turning towards me. "What do you want for Christmas?"

I slowly and dazedly began recounting the items on my wish list, still unable to take my eyes off the envelope.

"...and a Barbie Dream Home." I finished. "Please." I added in a small voice.

"Well ho! Ho! Ho! Looks like we've got a believer after all!" He smiled revealing coffee-stained teeth.

"Yeah..." I said decidedly, gaining more resolve with each passing moment. "You're right!"

"Ho! Ho! Ho!" he chortled again. "Merry Christmas to you both! You kids be good now!"

And with that we scurried off to join our parents.

As I recounted the tale, my voice full of wonder and increasing volume-- "You don't underSTAND! He knew our NAMES! That was MY HANDWRITING! MINE! Did you SEE THAT?! DID you?!"--my dad gave a knowing wink to the jolly, happy soul and whispered, "Thanks man--see ya at work tomorrow."

In that moment, I decided to push aside my doubts, ignore my questions and blindly embrace my belief in the magical. The fantastical. The imaginative side of life that some so quickly dismiss as improbable.
...that is, until I found the packaging from all the Easter candy sitting on top of the trashcan a few months later.

As Michael Scott would say, "Fool me once, strike one. Fool me twice, strike three."

Touche.

12.20.2010

Part 3: And this is what I will do.

This is a time to be merry and bright.
This is a time of singing and laughing,
list-making and bank-breaking,
THEY'RE COMING!
and THEY'RE HERE!
Good smells and good cheer.

Trading sleep for memories
And sanity for family,
Hopes and little-kid dreams,
play out around the glowing tree,
As we nibble little gingerbread men
In our tacky Christmas sweaters.

...And it's pretty much the worst time ever to say
OH ALSO!
Ye glowing, cheery carolers!
Amidst your holiday hullabaloo
and spiked eggnog
and buying of last minute OH CRAP I FORGOTs,
please remember those faceless people we'll probably never see
(who are dying in factory fires as we speak)
and don't patronize x and y store.
(Possibly a, b and c store too, but I really can't be sure.)
Or maybe just buy from fair trade stamped places?
Or maybe just buy from thrift stores?

And oh dear, I fear I have confused us all.

So, dear friends, in summary,
I decided to write about this now as opposed to then--
because no time is a good time and now is just as good as any.
because I don't know what to do but I have to do something.
And because I won't do a thing if left to my own devices.

I am going to have a merry Christmas.
I hope you do too.
I am going to try and soak up joy and people and fun and memories
and CELEBRATE!
Because I believe 'tis the Season.
And because I have a lot to celebrate.

And when the parties have ended
and the gifts are unwrapped,
I am going to start digging.

I won't make some lofty pledges here,
but I do promise this--
I will look into five companies.
(maybe more...not less)
Companies I either love or think I should hate.
All companies I currently support.

I will see what I can find.
I will write them to see what they say.
And I will tell you what I learn.

I hope you will stick around to find out.

And in case you haven't caught it before,
Thank you for reading.



*Am I turning into a conspiracy theorist?

12.15.2010

Part 2: From everyone who has been given much.

Wealth is attended with power, by which bargains and proceedings, contrary to universal righteousness, are supported; and hence oppression, carried on with worldly policy and order, clothes itself with the name of justice and becomes like a seed of discord in the soul.
--John Woolman, 1720-1772
       (emphasis mine)
 ********************************************************************************
 Read Part 1 here.
 
I could write all day about sweatshops, about the people--living, breathing people with hopes and dreams and steaks of ugly and beautiful all swirled together, just like us--and about how much easier it is for me to see nothing beyond my dollar except the shiny, new things I take home with me.

But that isn't really saying anything new, now is it?

We all know that they--the people--exist.

And we also know that sweatshops exist. And more or less how they continue to operate.

(And despite what corporate suits try to tell me, I'm sorry, but I really don't think your company swooping in and paying people pennies, ignoring terribly work conditions and forcing child labor is saving them or doing anyone a favor. As my husband and I discussed recently, that old argument was used to defend slavery years ago and I'm afraid it was found without merit, so let's please give your factory workers enough dignity to recognize that if you have to keep forcing an end to the idea of unions, your workers are not satisfied, and they are most certainly not praising the day you arrived.)

((Sorry. I was trying to keep from any rants. But that idea, as my Grandma would say, "really burns me up."))

Friends, the point in me sharing this with you is that it has been on my mind. It has been on my heart. So much so, in fact, that I wake up thinking about it in the middle of the night and can't stop. It has been, as Woolman says above, "a seed of discord in my soul."


This is not a cry for you to donate all your possessions and live out of a box. This is not me shaking my fist at myself, at you, at America and saying that we are all terrible and that everything terrible in the world is our fault.

This, instead, is me believing that you and I, while we may not have our 15 seconds, while we may not ever step foot in Washington, or Hollywood, or command a battlefield, we do have power.

We have power everyday in the way that we choose to spend our money--where to buy groceries, which brands to support, which corporations continue to thrive.

And the professed virtue of capitalism (but really its greatest fear) is that nobodys like me will step up and say, "HEY! YOU, CORPORATE LEADERS! Unless you treat people--all people--with dignity and stop plundering the world for a buck, YOU CAN'T HAVE MINE!"

I'm just one person. A nobody.

And they won't see my face and they won't hear my voice and they won't miss my dollar.

But you. And you. And you and you and you.

If we join together...

Well, then, they just may start to listen.

Part three will post tomorrow. Thanks for reading!

12.14.2010

Part 1: I support sweatshops (and you probably do, too)

NOTE: I write all of this to challenge (myself, you), to confess, to share, to grapple with. But not to judge. So please hear that before reading!

********************************************************************************

Nearly two years ago, I posted on fair trade.

I explored this issue. I researched, I discussed, I asked myself what can I do? What am I willing to sacrifice?

And in two years, some things have changed. When my running shoes (okay, FINE, more like "walking when I'm feeling really motivated" shoes) wore out, I chose to not replace them with my usual standby, the frequent (and current) sweat-shop supporter, Nike, and instead chose the ethically-touted New Balance. And life went on.

Also, I stopped supporting Wal-Mart. I love to save money--seriously luh-HUV it, people--but to me, I could not in good conscience continue to support a company that is repeatedly (and currently*) in the news as human rights violators. Their violations are so huge, in fact, that the International Labor Rights Forum lists ending Wal-Mart Sweatshops as one of their three primary action points in creating a sweatfree world.

This decision hurt a little more than boycotting Nike, since it had an effect on the pocketbook and, for awhile, at least, on my time (I lived just minutes from a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market and would have to drive further to get groceries anywhere else). And I'll be honest, I have shopped there in the last two years, so it hasn't been a clean break, but I would say that in total, I have been there just a handful of times in two years, which is a big change from my previous shopping habits. (Also, I have since moved and Wal-Mart is no longer a convenient option, therefore, it really isn't much of a sacrifice outside of getting less for my dollar.) And life went on.

I don't tell you these things so you think I'm awesome.

--Okay, maybe a little bit. I mean, it does feel pretty amazing to say whoa, yeah, I can actually cut companies out of my life and still live to tell about it! Because sometimes it really doesn't seem like that is possible anymore, you know? And though I'm still quite tangled in the corporate web we've weaved, it's like, I don't know, I can at least wiggle a pinkie toe now. So, that's something.

But more than that, I've just felt like I've let life go on a little too much lately and have stopped challenging myself to face my own personal responsibility in this world. Specifically in the power of my dollar.

So, again, I have to ask myself,

What am I willing to sacrifice? 

To be continued. Thanks for reading.  (Part 2 is now posted here.)

*please note that the 2010 publication is dated November 2009. I was unable to find a more current list. It seems the 2011 list has not been released yet so this really is the most current information that was readily available. I would welcome a more current list if anyone finds one!

12.10.2010

Vote of confidence.

Scene: Co-worker's baby shower.

IMPORTANT NOTE: NO BABY ON BOARD OVER HERE.* Give me a freaking heart attack.
 
Me: Some of my friends are just so awesome about the whole being a mother thing! I really hope I'm laid back...

Her: Ha! No way. You'll be the most nervous mother yet.

Me: ...?!...


Happy weekending! Hope it includes peace and joy...after all, 'tis the season!



*In fact, let's just be crazy and forget what is apparently a (rather appalling) social norm and instead of inquiring on my baby status and checking out my waistline while doing so (rude and weird and horribly uncomfortable...yes, EVEN when you do it with a smile)...let's just assume that this is a baby-free zone** until further notice.
**I don't hate babies.

12.09.2010

Journey.

"It just seems like, I don't know--" I paused, searching, twisting my gloved fingers, uncertain how the words would really tumble out.

"--like a couple years ago, we were all thinking and dreaming and hoping together, you know?"

"Yeah," he said. "I remember."

"And it was a crazy time. An uncertain time. And well, it scared me," I continued.

I paused.

"...but it seemed like we were on the cusp of something, didn't it? I mean, we hadn't figured it out but it was just right there and we believed  it was right there and we wanted it to be right there...at least, mostly." I said, as my two-year-ago self quavered in her boots and said shut up shut up shut UP!

"Yeah," he said.

"And then this happened then that and I don't know, I mean, really great things have happened since then"--I said catching sight of my ring, smiling.

"And it's not about what was going to happen or who it was going to happen with exactly," I said.

"But..."

He looked over, waiting.

I was nervous now but feeling something--what was it exactly?--something deep within that said yes, go on! You must go on!--I took a deep breath

"...but now and then I just think to myself so...was that it? Are we done?"

And he said, "Yeah, I know."

And the city lay before us.

And we were quiet.

And we drove right into the heart of it, its glimmering lights winking as if to say, kiddos, 
it ain't over til it's over
.

12.08.2010

Snack attack: Cheery Cranberry Orange Chex Mix

It's been one of those you weren't chosen for that thing + your shoe squeaks + an all staff email WITH A TYPO kind of days.


Waah, waaah, etc. etc....okay, let's talk Chex Mix!


My mom made this recipe over Thanksgiving break and I loved it! Normally, there is really only one Chex mix recipe for me, and that is puppy chow (OMG I love that stuff), but I think this is a great treat...especially during a time of year that is saturated with chocolate-y, extra-sugary, super sweet and heavy desserts!

(Okay, I actually NEVER get tired of desserts in any form* but most people, such as my husband, do.)

Enjoy!

Cheery Cranberry Orange Chex Mix

Ingredients:
5 c Corn Chex
4 c Rice Chex
1 cup sliced almonds
¼ cup (half stick) of butter, melted
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate (do not dilute)
½ c dried cranberries

Directions:
Heat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix cereals and almonds in very large bowl.  Microwave butter, brown sugar and juice concentrate in a 1-cup microwave-safe cup, uncovered on HIGH for 30 seconds; stir until well blended.  Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated.  Pour into large ungreased roasting pan (takes a pretty large pan/roaster or two 9 x 13 pans would work well too).  Bake uncovered 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir in cranberries, cool completely about 1 hour.  (If you add cranberries before placing in oven, the mix will stick to bottom of pan, so not fun!).  Store in airtight container or plastic food storage bag

*except cheesecake. Yes, I hate cheesecake. I repeat: I do not eat cheesecake. Most people find this unbelievable. It makes me want to gag. I hope we can still be friends.  

p.s. Got a snack recipe to share? Do tell! 

12.03.2010

All the beauty.

Image cred
Typed with ink stained fingers
And a rather fussy heart.

May your weekend be joy-FULL, friends.

12.02.2010

Digression.

I was about to post about a quote I read recently that keeps popping into my mind and is just so true and I couldn't wait to share!

... but alas, I haven't posted said quote...because I googled it....because I didn't have the foggiest* where that quote came from...and THEN realized that NOT ONLY did I incorrectly remember said quote...BUT ALSO that it came from not a book at all, but the good ol' romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally.

Annnd there goes my credibility.

(Even more so when I confess what book I read IN TWO DAYS. I don't know what it is about that series and I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW it isn't exactly intellectually stimulating...but I couldn't stop myself! That British lady gets me every time with her ridiculous antics!)

It wouldn't be so bad but I've actually referenced this quote at least twice in the last week or so (because I do that sort of thing...see also the time this fall that I reported incessantly about the pumpkin shortage which lasted UM two weeks or something and resulted in me looking like a total wacko**--thanks for nothing, LIBBY'S!).

THE POINT IS, according to Marie, "Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn't possibly all have good taste." 

But I think what she really meant to say was, "Everybody thinks they are rational and have a sense of humor."

You are welcome for blowing your mind.

...Maybe I should have written instead about how a 14-year-old tried to steal from me yesterday?***

*does anyone other than my mother use this phrase?
**what is WITH my sayings today? Yeesh.
***that's right, I said tried. I'm from Topeka, boy, you better get your story straight.

12.01.2010

And that's even better.

Turning over these words from Donald Miller:

"I wish I could go back and talk to myself when I was twenty. I’d say to myself 'listen, don’t worry about the things you’ve been worrying about. Everything is going to work out great.' And I’d likely clarify with myself that 'In the future I get everything I need?' And I’d say back to myself 'No, you just realize you didn’t need it. And that’s even better.'"

11.29.2010

These are the moments.

She shivered and drew the blankets around her closer.

Looking so small. So vulnerable. So unlike her.

But then she'd quip with a sparkle in her eye and I'd let my breath out a little.

And we chatted. About this and that, the now and the then (I sure do miss him she said and my eyes immediately filled).

And I sat there and told myself soak this up, soak this moment up, every last drop because time is precious, I am realizing more and more, and it is ever slipping by.

And we'd fall silent sometimes, me searching for things to say, and sometimes fumbling a bit, wanting this moment to be Meaningful, Special, Profound.

And just when I'd stopped trying, just said oh just let it be what it will be, she said out of the blue:

"No," (because sometimes she'll start like that, as if continuing a conversation you started last visit)--

"No, I am not usually one to judge people," and I smiled quizzically, brow furrowed, trying to follow.

"I'm not one to judge, but the first time I saw him," and I scrambled in my head and thought who is he?

But she continued, "...the very first time, right off the bat, I saw you together and I thought, 'Now this is the man for Sara.'"

And she sat back and nodded, words spent, and I said a quiet, "Yes he is," and stored it in my deepest of deep to draw upon my whole life long.

11.24.2010

And what is your one thing?

May you spend these days enjoying your many blessings,
And may you make space in the merry hubub
To examine what is inside your clinging grasp
As we run this race of life.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

11.23.2010

Fine line.

(minute one)
It had me at hel-LO sequins and cream-colored coziness!

(minute one and one-half)
Why yes I will try you on, you six dollar steal-of-a-deal!

(minute seven...in the dressing room)
Oh no you DON'T have SHOULDER PADS!?!?!?!?!?!?!

(minute 15...in line to check out)
 ...maybe I can take them out and pretend I'm uh, resourceful?

(minute 16...in line to check out)
...I mean, this is cute, right?

(minute 16.5...in line to check out)
...or is it ultra-hipster?

(minute 17...in line to check out)
...what is ultra-hipster anyway?

(minute 17.25...in line to check out)
Answer: Mass Street. Crap. They made fun of my scarf.

(minute 17.75...in line to check out)
...or maybe this is just weird and outdated?

(minute 18...in line to check out)
...does this mean I'm losing my edge and will start wearing MOM JEANS?!

(minute 18.5...in line to check out)
Oh please no. No. NO! It's fine! It's cute! I like it, I'm getting it, PERIOD.

(minute 20...to the checkout girl)
You like it? You really like it?! You think I can remove them without ruining it and my own shaky confidence?! REALLY?! LET'S BE BEST FRIENDS!




((I need a vacation.))

11.22.2010

Risky business.

And sometimes it's giddy.
And sometimes it's ugly.

Sometimes it hurts,
sometimes it tingles.

Sometimes its arms wrap around you
so tight you can't breathe, and

Sometimes it leaves you stranded,
tears falling falling falling.

But when in question,
when in doubt,
when wondering is it worth it?

Do it deeply.
Richly.
Blindly.
And often.

And then try to tell me that it isn't.
via (via )

11.18.2010

Iron sharpening iron.

He says: Shoot! I forgot my vitamins.
And she smiles to herself.
*
She says: I'm finally going to do it.
And he celebrates beside her.
*
He says: Let's update the budget.
She braces herself (but is thankful).
*
She says: It's from our favorite thrift store!
He can't believe she has one (but loves it).

He says: Let's go there one day.
She adds it to her list.
*
She watches historical documentaries.
He watches Friends.
*
She realizes she does like nutmeg (sometimes).
He pretends to like burnt cookies.
*
She cries: It's not supposed to be like this.
He holds her hand.
*
He says: I can't do it.
She says: You can!
*
And so it goes.
And on and on.
And layers peel off.
And skin thickens.
And bruises appear.
And heal.
And scars form, even.

And we keep going.
And it is good.

11.16.2010

Life lessons from Google Chat:

Her: It just reminded me, you know, that it is so easy to get lost in the noise.

Me: YES! Amen.

*****

How do you choose which voices matter?
How do you catch your breath in silence?
When is too much too much?

Yeah...I don't know either. But I'm learning.

Photo cred

11.15.2010

A Good Man is Hard to Find

"So you and Adam are married now, right?" he shouted above the music.

"Yeah!" I said smiling, tucking my elbows in from the bustling crowd and turning slightly, my white wine wiggling in its fancy glass.

"That's awesome. So were you guys, like, a thing in college?"

"No," I said, remembering, "...just b-f-fs."

"Oh, you were b-f-fs?" he said, without a trace of sarcasm, although I was sure it was lurking beneath the surface.

"Yeah!" I said.

"Cool," he said.

And then, "You know, I never knew your man all that well," he said, stepping in a bit, "but I always thought he was awesome."

I smiled, then suppressed a giggle as Adam himself walked up to hear, "Yeah, I mean, Adam is just such a solid guy, you know?"

And as he turned and saw Adam standing there, he laughed a little sheepishly then continued, "Hey man, I just remember you always reading and watching you with everyone in the coffee shop and I don't know, it's so rare to see someone and think that guy has character. But I always thought that."

He turned to me as Adam's face turned red and said, "Anyway, congratulations. You got a good one."

And as he disappeared into the crowd I squeezed Adam's arm and thought yeah, I know.

Photo cred

11.10.2010

Thinking:

Apparently, it is necessary to remind others that no, it is actually not acceptable to brush your teeth at a public drinking fountain.

Please, go tell all your friends.

HURRY!

11.04.2010

To-do (on my much anticipated day off):

  • Get one of these
  • Sip one of these slowly
  • Use my new nail polish!
  • Write in my forlorn and ashamedly dusty journal
  • Curl up on the couch with one of these books
  • Bake something tasty
  • Finish that craft I started...months ago
  • Write a letter 
  • Send a fun package
  • Go for a stroll
  • Watch something girly that would make Adam roll his eyes
  • Most importantly: Give myself permission to shred this virtual list and spend the whole day doing nothing or something else...just because I can. 
Image cred.

    11.02.2010

    Even if you're disgusted.

    Voting day is always a bit of a conundrum for me.

    Deep down, I still believe it is my duty, my responsibility as a citizen, to get out there and vote.

    But I never seem to know exactly what I'm doing.

    I know a lot of it is my own lackadaisical approach to politics and my poor effort to educate myself.

    And I would say in the last few years I really have gained an interest and actually started paying attention...or trying to.

    Forgive me for whining about the media again, but it really is a frustrating experience to try and weed through all the crap out there and get to the nitty gritty. Just give me the basics. Give me your platform. Give me your issues, let me see how they line up with mine, stop cutting down your opponent and get rid of the fluff. That's all I want.

    But it really is a lot to ask these days because fluff sells. Attacking ads prevail. And so to me, politics has come to be equated with a mixture of pride, arrogance, deceit, confusion, and well, failure.

    I know that is harsh and I know that there are a lot of good people who have given their life to make this country better. And I appreciate that, I really do. But their good deeds get swallowed by the circus in Washington. Good efforts seem to be marred with eventual corruption.

    So, in a word, I suppose you could say that at the ripe ol' age of twenty-five, I have become cynical.

    But I am still proud to be an American, despite the fact that I don't see eye to eye with either of our political parties. And I'm learning more and more that cynicism is the easy answer. Because then all I have to do is roll my eyes, fold my arms and criticize. And then act surprised when nothing ever changes. But hey, at least no one can blame me.

    The point of all this rambling is to say that I am voting today.

    Partly out of obligation but partly out of a determination that you know what? After all these years, all these mistakes, and even, yes, many successes in our journey as the U.S. of A, this is still my right.

    And cynicism is such a tired badge to wear.

    "If you don't vote because you're trying to teach politicians a lesson, you're tragically misguided in your strategy. The very politicians you're trying to send a message to don't want you to vote. Since 1960, voting turnouts in mid-term elections are down significantly, and there's one reason: because of TV advertising.

    "Political TV advertising is designed to do only one thing: suppress the turnout of the opponent's supporters. If the TV ads can turn you off enough not to vote ("they're all bums") then their strategy has succeeded.

    "The astonishing thing is that voters haven't figured this out. As the scumminess and nastiness of campaigning and governing has escalated and the flakiness of candidates appears to have escalated as well, we've largely abdicated the high ground and permitted selfish partisans on both sides to hijack the system.

    "Voting is free. It's fairly fast. It doesn't make you responsible for the outcome, but it sure has an impact on what we have to live with going forward. The only thing that would make it better is free snacks.

    Even if you're disgusted, vote. Vote for your least unfavorite choice. But go vote."

    Wise words from Seth Godin.(emphasis mine)

    11.01.2010

    Lately:

    • Watching season one of this forever fave (Ross is the best. Obviously.)...and eagerly anticipating this to arrive at our doorstep.

    • Reading this  (shout out to Lauren for such a great recommendation!) and this...and basically just wanting to be this girl all day:

    Photo cred

    • Feeling a bit more connected to this space, this season, this community, this life as I know it right here, right now. And it is nice. Not perfect, but oh-so-welcome to get a bit of peace.
    • Looking for a rhythm and while we still clang and clunk along a bit, knowing at the end of the day, when we say "See you at home!" we mean our home. Where we are about to have our first Christmas.* And I don't care if I am sickeningly sentimental, I think little ol' 2W will always hold a special place in my heart. (Unless we get mice. Which we did at work. And now I can't wear open toed shoes without freaking out. But it's cold now so I wouldn't anyway. Whew.)

    • Wondering what the crap I was thinking when I agreed to do this. In six days. OMG! (I blame sibling rivalry.)

    *but not too soon. Please! I'm not ready for holiday mania quite yet...give me a few peppermint mochas and then we can talk.

    10.26.2010

    Part 3: On living love.

    Need some context? Check out Part 1 and Part 2.

    And we survived engagement--and it was crazy, and we had our moments, but we kept going, because we love each other.

    And then it was Wedding Day--and it was perfect, and I cried and he cried and we left together, hand in hand, because we love each other.

    And now we are newlyweds--and we are starry-eyed and crazy about each other and it is easy to ignore faults and say I'm sorry and look ahead together, because we love each other.

    And I look around and sometimes think How can this last? or Will it start to fade? or I wonder what he'll think of me ten years from now... and sometimes it is scary.

    Because there are no guarantees. No How To's. No These Five Steps Provide Absolute Marital Bliss (even though bookstores are covered with titles that claim otherwise). Not even loved ones who have all the answers.

    This is real life. Our life. And it is very much unscripted.

    And look around! Sure, there are stories upon stories about boy-meeting-girl and all the romantic giggliness that follows...but so many of those end in heartbreak. Because marriage is hard. Love fails. People get bored. And do stupid things. And if they do that, you do this because you have to watch your back. So just enjoy the season and when it's time, let it go. Or so society seems to say.

    We are obsessed with failing couples. We excuse our broken vows. We applaud those who Have the Courage to Stand Up for Themselves.

    But who is standing up for Love?

    And who is saying I said I will and I will and you will and hey, yeah, we will fight and not like each other and we will each make so many mistakes.

    And it will probably get hard and then even harder and maybe one day we won't even know who we are anymore. And it won't feel awesome.

    And Anything Else will look easier.

    But we will have a choice.

    Because no matter what is going on around us or how Hollywood decides to define love, we aren't These People or Those People or even Those People over there.

    It is just you and me and a journey of learning to live out the words we had read that day--words that may be tired but no less true.

    Words we will spend our lives exploring, defending, protecting, celebrating.

    Because we love each other.

    Because we made a promise.

    Because our journey has just begun.

    10.18.2010

    Part 2: On love and logic.

    Just now joining? Read Part 1 first.

    And then I started dating my best friend.

    It was a time of constant discovery--a roller coaster of nerves, excitement, adventure, anxiety. And there was always something to question.

    For in the movies, as I'm sure you are aware, love goes a little something like this:
    Boy meets girl.
    Boy falls in love with girl during a plethora of excruciatingly adorable dates, where everyone wears super trendy clothes and perfectly-timed cheesy lines are exchanged (under the moon, in front of a setting sun, during a gondola ride, etc.).
    Something happens to thwart love. (girl discovers boy has made an ugly bet with a friend to date her, boy and girl discover they were each playing games with each other but accidentally fell in love but don't trust each other, boy discovers girl actually has a fiancee but he is terrible and she should obviously be with boy, etc.)
    Love overcomes obstacle. (often in an airport, at the top of the Eiffel tower, even occasionally during a wedding when one is about to marry The Wrong One)
    Annnnd end scene. (Happily ever after, of course.)


    Oh sure, I consciously knew these stories were ridiculous (who actually falls in love over a radio show and flies and meets up in New York? Or how can I be so happy that two people each broke off an engagement for each other just because they each reached for the last pair of Christmas gloves and thus are Destined for Each Other? And who really believes that the girl that constantly runs away from love at the altar repeatedly settles down for a guy who cares about what kind of eggs she prefers? You get the point.).

    But there is a certain comfort in the predictability and honestly, one feels a kind of justice has been served when Boy Gets Girl No Matter What Amen. And as much as I hate to admit it, these stories and expectations absolutely did shape my view of love.

    It made any sort of personal assessment difficult since, you know, real life, is NOT a perfectly packaged two-hour rom com.

    Don't get me wrong. Sometimes, my experience was pretty darn close to Hollywood-esque-- first kisses on a starry night, a snowy drive just to be together for the holidays and sneaking wine into the park for a summery celebration.

    But intermixed were scary times, sad times, heartache times, questioning times and just plain awkward times. Lots of awkward times.

    I often felt fragile, exposed, and totally and completely overwhelmed.

    But how do I know? I wondered. When will it make sense?

    So I would look around.

    "I'm not sure what to tell you," some friends would shrug. "For us, things just fell into place."

    "OMG you guys are PERFECT!" others would gush.

    And my head kept spinning, spinning, spinning.

    I wish I could tell you I had A Defining Moment or had That One Conversation or realized This Life-Changing Truth.

    But that would be me trying to pretty up my story, and I guess if anything, that is what I learned--that my journey, our journey, is one of highs and lows and hard times and good times, and to negate one without the other merely for story sake would be to misrepresent us.

    And oh, it was hard.

    To realize there is no template. There is no absolute affirmation that we are doing the right thing or meant to be or that we have what it takes. And that no one knows.

    But what I can tell you with certainty is that through it all, even at the worst of times, I found myself clinging to hope. A hope that surpassed even the crappy times or the convoluted reality and urged me to believe and to keep fighting.

    And Adam did the same.

    And so, on a Friday night about 9 p.m. after he waited on a park bench for two hours and I arrived breathless and ooookay fine, UNSHOWERED, Adam asked me to marry him.

    And I said absolutely YES!

    And whoo-eee did things get interesting.

    Part 3 to come soon. Thanks for reading!

    10.15.2010

    Part 1: On love and lepers.

    I used to hate love.

    I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved family love and friend love...but I mean romantic love.

    Of course, I had an obsession with it, even during my season of love disdain, because hellooooooo, sometimes a girl just wants to wear sweatpants and watch Mr. Darcy sweep a girl off her feet and believe that someday, I too would be so pursued by a dashing young gentleman (preferable not quite as brooding, but I tried to keep an open mind).

    But when the movie credits would roll, I would be reminded yet again that I had no Mr. Darcy. (And also that I also spilled ice cream all over said sweatpants. Again.)

    Thus the love hatred.

    Sometimes, when I was feeling extra Bridget-Jones-esque, I would escape with my journal and scribble pages upon pages of angst. What am I doing wrong? Why not me? and sometimes the obligatory Boys suck.

    And I would convince myself that I had better start loving cats and collecting needlepoint phrases and doilies and learn to say, "Oh, my ticket is separate, thank you!" without noticing the pitying smiles.

    And I would hear my friends complain when their boyfriend did this or their husband did that, and sometimes I would want to scream, "DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE?!" And would truly (unfairly) believe that their problems weren't nearly as big as mine as a single person because they had someone to share their journey.


    I realize this makes me sound like a total narcissistic jerk with a complex (and unhealthy eating habits), and that is probably a fair assessment. But neither is it the whole story.

    The thing is, it's not like I wasn't happy for my friends. I wanted exactly what they had, after all. It's just that they were entering a new phase of life that somehow made me feel immature. Or behind. Partly because I was even told flat-out, "Yeah...you just really couldn't understand my problem right now. Maybe one day, after you're married YOU LEPER."

    (Okay, she didn't say the leper part, but might as well.)


    Everywhere I looked in my ever-shrinking Midwestern Christian bubble, I felt more and more certain that my life was missing something--the something--that would make me complete.

    And that something was marriage.

    "Hey," my friend's Dad winked at his daughter's wedding reception, "when we gonna see you walk down that aisle, kid? Time's a'wastin!"

    And the standard holiday family gathering, "Soooo, why aren't you bringing any boys around?" Yuk yuk yuk...

    And the well-intentioned-yet-demeaning, "Ohhh, you're single?! That's o-kay!" (Yes, thank you, I know that's o-kay...or at least I did until you said o-kay like it's not o-kay, OOOOOKAAAAAAY?!)


    Or the perpetual--"...have you met my friend, so and so?! You guys would be PERFECT!" which would instantly cause my stomach to turn into a thousand knots as my cheeks immediately inflamed.

    I was an honors grad. A ball of social energy. A school ambassador. A bookworm. A leader. A traveler.

    A sister, a friend, a daughter, a maid of honor, a volunteer, a writer, a planner, a worrier, a student, a full-time worker.

    I was a lot of things, but all that really seemed to matter to most people was that I was young. A Midwesterner. A Christian. A female. And single as single could be.

    And there was no Mr. Darcy in sight.

    Note: If you think this is heading towards "and then I got married and life is perfect"...please gag and then keep reading next week.

    10.13.2010

    O! What a city.

    Okay, who here knew that Omaha was awesome and WHY had no one told me?!

    I'll let my pictures do the talking...in case some of you are doubters.

    First, really awesome food:
    The sign speaks the truth.
    $3.50. One patty. TRUE STORY!

    Second, a really fun zoo! (not pictured: BATS and other crazy nocturnal animals from "Kingdom of the Night." Also missing is my fave, the gorilla.) Let's just say we were there until it closed.
    The desert dome.
    Third, a really fun area called Old Market that is walker-friendly and quirky enough to keep you guessing. (not pictured: our awesome Indian food, bakery goodies, brewery lunch, etc. etc. etc.)
    The art museum.
    Fourth, and the absolute best, escaping the craziness of life with this guy:

    Road trips are the best.

    Thanks for everything, Omaha! Hope to see you again soon!

    10.11.2010

    I spy with my little eye...

    The scene: Saturday morning, before the sun is up. I awake with a start to a strange pop-pop-pop noise. Naturally, I dash to our kitchen door to peer at the parking lot. Nothing. I return to bed with a fussy sigh, waking up Adam. I report the noise. He takes a look around.

    The rising action: Pop-pop-pop! There it is again! This time, from the street outside our bedroom window! Sneakily, I peek out of a smidgen of space in the blinds. I see a white SUV! With their headlights on! My heart rate skyrockets.

    Adam! I hiss. But before I can even report my finding, the overhead light turns on in the car! I lean in closer.

    The climax: Without warning, I witness a burst of flurried activity. The driver (who is alone) begins exceedingly fast hand gestures. (Car dancing? I wonder. Drug-induced behavior? Who can really tell?!)

    And then the frenzied driver begins digging in...what's that? A bag!? Full of...unidentified items?! Could it be I am watching our neighborhood catalytic converter thief IN ACTION?!

    ADAM! I hiss frantically. Get.IN.HERE! HURRY!

    And just as he is hurrying through the doorway, the car door opens.

    The driver snatches one of the bagged objects and steps out. I hold my breath, one hand reaching for my phone.

    And together, we watch as the middle-aged, apron-wearing woman carries a roll of toilet paper with her as she walks into work.



    Honest mistake.

    10.08.2010

    And we said Amen.

    And so we sat on the hard wooden pews and wiped tears from our eyes and struggled to Believe.

    And asked why? and how? and why not? and where are You?!

    And tears came and hands were squeezed and we tried to smile trembly smiles and pretend to be brave for them. But our aching hearts gave us away.

    And then he began to speak.

    And when he said, "It is not supposed to be this way," his voice caught and we all felt that truth deep in our bones--but we felt it together and somehow Comfort trickled in that space and filled in the cracks of sadness.

    And he kept going.

    "It is not supposed to be this way," he said again, a little stronger this time and he continued firmly, resolutely, pleading yet believing, "...but this is not the end of the Story."

    And he said that is the Truth.

    And we clung to His words.

    And we said Amen.

    10.06.2010

    Excuse me, my shallowness is about to show but...

    Gap has a new logo?!

    And uhhh...it looks like this?

    WHAT?!

    Um, I know I'm not the best with change and I know that the world does tend to be a tad dramatic about these things but...let's just say this isn't exactly going over so well.

    Personally, I could get over the font...but the blue square?! Ehh?

    Think you could do better? Take a look at some of these ideas and design away!

    Meanwhile, I'll try to get over it.

    (REALLY?!)

    *edit: Guess they took the design contest down. Bummer.

    *edit #2: Now Gap is accepting design ideas as well! ...Okay I'm done. Promise.

    *edit #3: I know I lied about being done...but I have to share this with you all. You're welcome.

    10.05.2010

    Currently:

    • Battling a ferocious eye twitch that makes me all squinty-eyed and awkward looking. So much so that I had been shamelessly closing one eye and peering at the computer screen all pirate-like. And then my co-worker caught me. Drat. How do you recover from that?!
    • I can feel the fussiness rising in me as the weather gets a chilly twinge that WILL NOT END for MONTHS, PEOPLE! But it's okay, I've been getting excited about fall foods for once in my life and have made delicious pumpkin cookies (if I do say so myself) ummm...at least three times in the last month.
    • My husband's response to said fussiness is to smirk a bit (because he survived the beastly summer heat...which is HIS fussy season)...and then tell me that instead of calling it "cold," I should call it "invigorating." I DISAGREE, DEAR.
    • Speaking of fall food (I was, up there...before I interrupted myself a million times with usual sassiness), you guys! I HAVE A PROBLEM. I am compulsively copying recipes from food sites I have no business visiting and have successfully filled up an entire folder in my email with grandiose ideas...seriously. Obsessed. For no reason. And did I mention we only eat at home ummm MAYBE three nights a week? (Don't get me started...we have an insane lifestyle OKAY?!) But for some reason I am all inspired--slow cooker recipes? Yes please! Award winning entrees? Absolutely! It's a yo-yo kind of emotional rollercoaster, though, when I look at the directions and completely get the deer-in-headlights look with one glance at the ingredients. It can be so intimidating!
    • Searching for how to fully appreciate the present season--all the busyness, heartache, joy, sorrow, second-guessing, missing, wondering, hoping and longing it entails.

    10.04.2010

    I said a hip hop...

    It's Monday.

    You stayed up too late last night eating ice cream and watching that TV show that took America by storm (which you resisted when, you know, it was actually COOL, then totally fell victim to its addictive quality once it went off air...FINALE TONIGHT! OMG!).

    You've already had two Lindt chocolate truffles. (Holy.CRAP. YOU try eating just one...I dare you!).

    But hey, whatever. It's Monday so the name of the game is merely survival.

    And with that, I would like to beg you to please please please watch this video if you haven't already. (I would embed but the stupid link is broken.)

    Hi-lar-i-ous. (my fave is JT's Snoop impersonation...feel free to share yours.)


    And if that doesn't make your Monday a little brighter then I don't know what will.

    Enjoy!

    10.01.2010

    Comfort food: Parmesan Roast Chicken.

    What to make when you feel really crappy, your husband feels crappy, and your week has been a big dose of heaviness:

    (adapted from a HyVee recipe that credits TRY-FOODS INTERNATIONAL, so I should too I suppose. And thanks HyVee! Love you and your NuVals!)

    Parmesan Roast Chicken

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    1/4 tsp. basil (or whatever spice you prefer...go crazy)
    2 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard (this will change your life)
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    4 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast

    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease ovenproof glass baking dish.
    2. Combine cheese, breadcrumbs, basil and salt and pepper to taste on one plate.
    3. Combine mustard and oil on second plate.
    4. Dip chicken in mustard mixture, then in cheese mixture, shaking off excess. Place chicken in prepared baking dish.
    5. Bake 30-40 minutes until tender and no longer pink.
    6. Feel awesome, count your blessings and tell someone who love how special they are.

    Serve with mashed potatoes and enjoy in front of the TV. 

    Follow later with ice cream and a LOST episode that you pay $.98 for on Amazon because you are desperate and Netflix is FAILING YOU.


    Got a comfort food to share? Let me know! I'm always up for suggestions...

    Happy weekending friends!

    9.28.2010

    Hometown pride.

    I saw this guy speak this weekend and can I just tell you that I love him?

    He's an eclectic mix of passions--farming, preservation, family, and the Creator--and he writes everything from tell-it-like-he-sees-it nonfiction essays like this to a fiction series including this, which had me in tears a few times (shocker, I know).

    Plus, he is completely charming (I say "charming" instead of "cute" because I was told by SOMEONE that to use the word "cute" when describing a man of such character is demeaning and...how did he put it..."strips him of his dignity." What-EVER Adam...). But I mean, his WIFE types his manuscripts on a TYPEWRITER for crying out loud (which he explains in that article I mentioned). So in my romantic head I swoon and say CUTE CUTE CUTE!!!

    Hearing Wendell Berry speak was a true joy. He commands respect and is somehow able to maintain absolute dignity even when the power goes out. In fact, the crowd begged him to continue his presentation even through the lunch break. And not just because of his CHARMING Southern drawl.

    What stuck with me was his message about place.

    He spoke about the duty of being proud of where you are from. And wanting--above all else--to be in that place, because it is the place you call home. A place you will forever love. A place, that to you, is better than any other place.

    Further, he said it was also our duty to recognize that everyone else has their own place that they call home. A place that they love and think is better than any other place. And that their place is not ours. And that we should be able to have our pride without infringing on their right to have theirs.

    But he also pointed out that each place does have its own distinct language. And that while language is on one hand universal (learning English is learning English), there are certain nuances that only those from our place can understand.

    And I thought about that this weekend as I watched my family sitting around the living room playing a lively game of Catch Phrase. I felt my own comfort and joy in that place--speaking that language of "Oh, my stars!" and "My dogs are barkin!" and other quirky words of home--and I realized that my husband (though he respects and loves my family) will not ever quite speak that language like I do...nor will I speak his.

    And it made me sad for awhile, to be honest. Because isn't that so unfair? How can two people from two places ever have hope of speaking the same language?! Do we just choose one? Or what?

    But I was completely and totally overlooking the most glaring reality--that we are in our own place. Creating our own language. That we will one day teach to our family.

    And it is nice to just take a deep breath and rest in that truth.

    9.23.2010

    I don't even know who I am anymore.

    Every now and then, there are moments that jump out and shake you. Life's way of reminding you the times, they are a-changin.'

    Like when I'm throwing lunches in Tupperware containers in the sleepy morning light and wondering, did we forget to put our recycling bin by the curb again?

    Or remarking with delight to the checkout clerk that they have canned PUMPKIN! At a time like this! In fact, I'm buying five cans because I CAN'T CONTROL MYSELF!

    Or getting excited about the grocery spending going up and our eating out going (uhh...somewhat) down.

    Or like today when my co-worker asks me, "Hey, isn't today The Office premiere?" AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW THE ANSWER.*

    What would my college self think of me now??!

    (Besides being proud of me showering every day.)

    *p.s. IT IS!!! 9/8 Central. NBC. Don't miss it!

    9.20.2010

    Go ahead and file this under "Worst Nightmare."




    "...The critters have a mouth full of 50 sharp teeth, tend to exude a foul odor, and can occassionally contract rabies..."

    (?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!??!)

    Vom.it.

    9.16.2010

    Here's looking at you, lady to my left:

    Ways to be the worst lecture-attender ever:

    1. Arrive late.
    2. Arrive late and leave again a mere 30 seconds later to return with a newsletter.
    3. Arrive late, leave again a mere 30 seconds later to return with a newsletter, and proceed to very obviously read said newsletter in the middle of lecture.
    4. Arrive late, leave again a mere 30 seconds later to return with a newsletter, proceed to very obviously read said newsletter in the middle of lecture, AND THEN START CLIPPING YOUR FINGERNAILS.

    Now excuse me while I very self-consciously munch on my carrots and apple for lunch.

    Keep it classy out there.

    9.14.2010

    And then I found five dollars.

    I killed a fly yesterday at work.

    It was all buzz buzzzzzz, hey look at me, taunting you by being creepy and landing on your computer screen while you wait for that stringy haired girl to come crawling out.

    And I was all oh yeah? WHACK. What now?!

    Except it got the last laugh because instead of just DYING like a NORMAL FLY and falling onto my desk, where I could easily scoop it into a trash can victoriously, it decided to spew its guts all over my computer screen.

    I KNOW. Rude.

    And THEN it got another posthumous laugh (prolonged last laugh? laster laugh?) this morning when I fell into my chair with that first cup of coffee and squinted in sheer terror at the teeny, tiny white flakes sprinkled across the corner of my computer screen. Precisely where Mr. Fly's guts resided just yesterday.

    And I was like whaaaaat the crap is that?! Are they MOVING?! (They weren't moving.)

    But why are there strange white sprinklings on my computer screen?
    Are these microscopic maggots of some sort?! Seriously, ARE THEY MOVING?! (They still weren't moving.)

    I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT MAGGOTS LOOK LIKE! I CAN'T BELIEVE I HAVE TO USE THE WORD MAGGOT BEFORE I HAVE EVEN HAD A FREAKING CUP OF COFFEE!!! ARE THEY MOVING?!
    (No.)

    And the use of mental exclamations made my brain hurt.

    And I couldn't help but recall the first time Adam and I went to a wedding together.

    We weren't dating and thus the fact that my b-f-f asked me TO A WEDDING set all these alarms off in my head and resulted in me not eating anything but chocolate chips all day long. Because ADAM my B-F-F asked ME to a WEDDING. Which is like, not a date but not a nothing kind of situation, you know?! Plus he was really cute and nervous when he asked me. (Which I secretly enjoyed because it's nice to see the other person squirm sometimes, AM I RIGHT?!)

    So there we were. Awkwardly accompanying each other to his co-worker's beautiful outdoor summer extravaganza. It was hot as Hades and I mentally thanked myself for wearing black (no pitstains, duh).

    And we mingled. And we met a few people and had to do the delicate dance of introductions so people didn't get the wrong idea.

    We decidde to take a seat and as people were beginning to meander toward the white chairs, I noticed some itty bitty hyphen-shaped white things on my left shoulder.

    Weird. I thought, brushing them off aimlessly.

    But then I noticed the very same hyphen-shaped white things on my right shoulder.

    What the---? I thought but before I could freak out about DANDRUFF on my first-date-but-not-quite with my b-f-f, I spotted a few on my skirt. And belt. And HOLY CRAP THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!

    Trying not to panic, I saw them on Adam's suit jacket as well. And the girl next to me. And the guy next to her.

    And in fact we were all noticing them at this point. And Adam was looking nervously at me, wide-eyed, trying not to laugh, but also kind of afraid.

    Because.

    You see.

    He knew something I was unable to admit to myself--

    THEY WERE ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!!!

    They were falling from the beautiful tree that so gracefully shaded the lawn.

    A tree that was also SHEDDING LIVING WHITE VARMITS ALL OVER MY FREAKING DRESS.

    And don't even MENTION what had to be in my hair. OH THE HORROR, I KNOW!

    And right when I mustered the courage to ask, "Are they alive? Tell me the truth. Adam? Adam?! ADAM?!?!"...the bride started down the aisle.

    So I did the only thing I thought appropriate. I squirmed and dusted as many little wretched LIVING BEINGS off my body as possible.

    And then I shrugged my shoulders, elbowed Adam in the ribs and took a big gulp (or five) of the delicious summer brew that was handed to us at the door.

    And if that isn't the beginning of a beautiful romance I don't know what is.

    9.13.2010

    Lately:

    • Throwing "...and did you know we are GODPARENTS?!" into every conversation possible. And loving it. Because we love her!
    • Reading this and this...and just finished this (and now want to read this...I know, out of order, SO SUE ME!).
    • Disturbed immensely by this and this...and wondering where the media is at in covering the story...OH WAIT, they are in Florida with that one guy. Awesome.
    • Wishing that my new infatuation with baking would somehow translate into better abs? Ehh? There's always hope!?!!?!

    photo cred.

    9.10.2010

    So this is love.

    Caution: I had cookies and a latte for breakfast. Because that's the kinda girl I am. Consider yourself warned. Sugar high ahead.

    ***

    The alarm didn't go off yesterday and I was all HOLY CRAP IT'S 6:45! GET IN THE SHOWER! MOVE MOVE MOVE!! YOU HAVE TEN MINUTES TO GET OUT THE DOOR!!!! (and yes, the exclamations absolutely DID grow exponentially with each phrase)

    And when Adam realized I was indeed completely serious, move he did.

    And he was rushing. And I was scurrying. And if you know either of us, you know that is a LOT OF FRANTIC!!! In ONE SMALL SPACE!!!! And DO YOU WANT A PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH OR A FROZEN BURRITO FOR LUNCH?! I KNOW, LIVING THE GOOD LIFE, YES YOU ARE!

    In minutes, he was almost ready to go and our hearts were settling down a bit and as he was buttoning up his shirt I decided the most helpful thing would be to assist him in wardrobe.

    --Let me take a quick tangent to say that I have never met anyone who approaches getting dressed like my husband.

    In college, he was known (really, honestly) as The Guy In Black. Black t-shirt, black hoodie and jeans. Every day. Period. You could count on it like you can count on me inflecting my voice A LITTLE MORE THAN NECESSARY just to MAKE A POINT.

    The all-black wardrobe was an exercise in simplifying his life and he did it well.

    So well, in fact, that upon graduation, when he had a job that required him to wear a mint green polo (OH THE HORROR!), he made a habit of rushing home as soon as he got off work just to change from said polo into the black t-shirt/hoodie combo before meeting up with anyone.

    My friend and I once made the drive to his job just to see Adam IN COLOR with our own eyes.

    Since his teaching days, he has made a complete 180 and begun wearing dress shirts, slacks and a tie every day. Because he is a professional (and because he does not want to be confused with a student). And I cannot TELL you what a stir that caused in our community! Adam!!! In color!!! Dressed up!!! SERIOUSLY!

    But the thing is, this dressing up and looking dapper thing has its drawbacks. Because now, well, it is not so easy getting dressed in the mornings. No siree, there are colors to matched and hues to consider and suddenly this wardrobe thing is quite the daily consternation!

    --So, this crazy, frantic, RUN HURRY MOVE IT! day, I dash to the closet to throw him a tie.

    I grab one of my faves--the gray one with colored stripes--and shout, "IS THIS ONE OKAY?!"

    To which he replies in all earnestness, "I DON'T KNOW! IS IT NEXT IN THE ROTATION?!"

    Which nearly causes me to fall over with a fitful of giggles and have yet another reason to love this quirky guy who I am blessed to share my life with.

    Mainly because this quirk is NOTHING compared to my seriously overly-complicated way of doing laundry.

    But I digress.

    9.09.2010

    And that's the way it is.

    (Pause while you sing that Celine Dion.)

    Life right now is a growing into time.
    Roles and expectations twisting and turning
    And I struggle daily to keep up.

    Life right now is a grace giving time.
    Learning patience and giving and patience again
    And getting more than my fair share in return.

    Life right now is a boundary pushing time.
    Saying yes when it's easier to say no thank you
    And being (mostly) pleasantly surprised when I do.

    Life right now is a firm believing time:
    In friendship that crosses miles and time zones
    In family who can never be replaced
    In foundation laid brick by brick as we reach month five (!)
    In faith that what is, is good, and what is to come will indeed, one day, come.

    9.08.2010

    Everything's okay.

    My brother-in-law played this for us this summer (because he is always up to something interesting and has a way of livening up a place) and lately it has been popping into my mind now and then.

    I'm not a Hank Williams fan really and to be completely honest, I can't stand songs that contain speaking.

    But somehow this chorus resonates. A reminder of resilience and hope in hard times. A prodding to remember that this is not the end of the story. (Silly as it may seem.)






    We’re still a-livin’ and we’re prayin’ for better days
    So - after all, ever’thing’s in purty good shape.

    9.02.2010

    Enquiring minds want to know:

    With the predominance of skinny jeans, are men having to consider underwear lines these days?

    And do you think you're out of the honeymoon stage when you discuss plantar warts...and not "generally speaking"?

    And do you think it's socially unacceptable to unzip my boots--full disclosure: NOT WEARING SOCKS! EEK!--when hiding in my cubicle?

    And do you find it an ethical issue when determining whether or not to give aid to Pakistan versus Haiti?

    And how do you make sense of the world around you? ...or do you?



    Do tell.

    9.01.2010

    Jumbled.

    Sitting across from my beautiful mom, soaking up time with the one person most like me in the world, really seeing her in new ways and as I watch my dear friends raising their first little ones, I find myself picturing her and my father as nervous young parents just figuring it out and I love pausing in that daydream (even when it gets me all choked up and misty-eyed) and I just find myself feeling incredibly thankful and just wanting to tell both her and them...hey, you over there, the one with the bleary eyes and frazzled nerves, yeah, you...you're doing a really good job.

    ***

    Dashing around the corner, running late (as usual) in a hurryhurryhurry! and screeching on the brakes for the old couple approaching. Though such a sight pulls at my heart strings, they aren't quite as endearing when shuffling sloooooooooowly and though totally unaware, taking up the entire hallway. All such impatient thoughts completely and utterly dissolve as I watch Grandpa come to a halt while staring, puzzled, off to the right...and Grandma (just a step or so behind) comes up on his left and taps his arm, smiling. "Well, there you are!" he chuckled, beaming down at her as I melted all over that linoleum hallway.

    ***
    Feeling an ache of it's not FAIR! Where are You?! How could You?! for the pain and broken hearts of those that surround me. She says with a wobbly voice, I am not brave, but her chin is still up (and her eyes full of tears) and she hurts and we all hurt with them and you can see it in his glance that they are grieving, searching, hoping, waiting. And we wait with them. And pray for peace.

    ***


    And that, I suppose, is what they call life.

    8.27.2010

    Why I love today:

    1. Watched the end of When Harry Met Sally. Gets me EVERY TIME! (And makes getting up before the birds a smidge more bearable).

    2. Sun on my shoulders as I walked to work...the perfect date!

    3. Caramel macchiato (non-fat, no whip).

    4. A night in with my b-f-f...and a weekend of festivities ahead.

    5. This delightful discovery. How fun!




    Happy weekend, everyone! Get out there and enjoy yourselves.