Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 165- Mediterranean Memorial Feast

Rain was in the forecast for today, so we didn't plan the most traditional Memorial Day feast.  Instead, I decided to fix a lovely Mediterranean style dinner that did not rely on the grill or any type of outdoor cooking.  What was on the menu?  Oh, well thanks for asking.


Mediterranean appetizer plate- htipiti, pita chips, and kalamata olives with a dash of lemon and oregano



First bite... happy customer! :)


Dinner
grilled (the rain held off for dinner!), seasoned lemon chicken
oregano green beans
rice pilaf with Parmesan crust

It tasted better than it looks, I promise!  Since Tom and I both joined the clean plate club, I'd say that our non-traditional feast was a success :).


Thank you, Mediterranean Memorial Feast, you made my day.

... AND... a HUGE thank you to all of the men and women who have given their lives for our great country (and to those who continue to serve).  God bless America and our troops.

Day 164- Carol

After years of wasting my life away playing Tetris and Dr. Mario, I was finally able to put my skills to use today in a real life situation.  Um... exciting!

Let's back up for a minute.  I was straightening up the patio furniture at work when I met Carol.  She was a cute and charming woman looking for a small patio set.  Let's just say she's probably had her AARP card for a few years.  She was delighted to find a nice wrought iron set with two chairs and a little table on sale, but she was worried that it would not fit into her Ford Escort.  So was I.  However, I was completely taken by her, so we hauled the table out to her car to see if it would fit before she bought it.  Since cars were parked close to hers, I couldn't actually load it, but I decided that I would be able to make it happen.  I just had to.

We had the set still in a box, and it would have easily fit into the car that way, but Carol let me know that she was terrible at putting things together... even if it only involved screwing a few legs into the table.  "My husband and I, we could do anything together, but now I'm on my own.  He passed away a year and a half ago, and it's hard for me to do these kinds of things."  I pictured her toppling over with the table one day, her morning coffee spilling everywhere.  We couldn't have that.  I let her know that I would be happy to put everything together and then load it into her car.  I just had to.

Once I had built the set, I took it out and began to wrangle it into Carol's small car.  Another customer, an older gentleman, stopped to watch.  Apparently the scene was amusing :).  Undaunted by my audience and the task at hand, I Tetris-ed all three pieces of that patio furniture into that car and got all the doors shut.  It was a proud moment.

I was even more proud when the older gentlemen said, upon completion of the load, "Wow... I would have bet $50 that you couldn't fit that in there.  Nicely done."  I rule.

Carol thanked me profusely and said that she couldn't believe that I would make such a fuss over a little old lady and her little old table.  I was touched.  My two incredible grandmothers are widows too.  I want to be clear that I don't do these things or share them for praise or for bragging rights.  My simple hope is that by treating all grandmothers as if they are my own, I can put good karma into the world, and it will come back to my beautiful Grandma Katie and Grandma Ginny.  They deserve it. 

Thank you, Carol, you made my day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 163- Dog Walk

General and I have both been diagnosed with a case of mild, mild, mild obesity.  His diagnosis was made recently by the vet, and mine came from the series of summer dresses I tried on today (purchased just last summer, mind you) that were tighter than Adam Lambert's acid washed jeans.  Yikes.

I decided after peeling off this procession of sausage casing dresses (I kid, I kid) that I need to cut down on my bacon consumption (no joke).  Don't worry, I will not be eliminating my crispy pork friend from my diet.  That's just silly.  I am attempting to discover the definition of moderation for myself, however.

I also need to add a bit more movement into my life (some call this exercise), since I will not be spending nearly as many hours doing my Depot workout this summer.  The first step (pun totally intended) was a long and pleasant walk with my boys tonight. 

I love strolling around the neighborhood with my guys.  Obviously, they are both terribly attractive arm candy, but my love runs much deeper than that.  I like to chat with the neighbors.  I adore the smells of bratwurst on grills or fresh laundry from dryer vents... we get both this time of year.  Being the competitive person that I am, I enjoy checking out everyone else's landscaping and comparing ours (we fared quite well tonight because everything in our yard is just starting to bloom, we planted more today and remulched, and Tom mowed the lawn in pretty diagonal lines).  General always discovers something that he finds wonderfully exciting.  Tonight he terrorized a frog (ok, well the frog terrorized him, but don't let him know I told you that... he'd be embarrassed).  He also has a few spots where we can be sure he will stop, sniff, and often relieve himself.  One of my favorite parts of the walk is when General chooses to do this at a fire hydrant around the corner.  After he stops, Tom can't help himself.  "Oh, General... that is so cliche!"  He gets the laughs every time, and he did not disappoint on this evening's walk.

I may lose a few pounds and a bit of bacon, but rest assured that I will not lose my love for parentheses (thank goodness).

Thanks, dog walk, you made my day.

Day 162- Tyra Banks

Of all of the things I've admitted to, this just may be the most embarrassing tidbit yet.  Please try not to judge me.  About a year ago, I started recording and watching The Tyra Show on a daily basis.  Today was the last show ever, and I might even go so far as to say I will miss it.

I didn't mean to start watching.  I have seen enough episodes of America's Next Top Model to know that Miss Tyra can be over the top and ridiculous and narcissistic... sometimes to the point that it is difficult to watch.  However, when I could look past all that and into the talk show, I also saw that Tyra had interesting topics and guests and actually had a knack for asking what I was thinking.  She wasn't afraid, once she was done telling her stories, to challenge her guests and to probe them about their own stories-- and oh, the stories some of them did tell!  What more could you ask for from a talk show?



There was more.  In the middle of cheesy games, talking in bad accents, and advice from "experts," Tyra constantly explored topics to further her mission of expanding the definition of beauty.  While I did not always agree with her, these shows were, at the very least, thought provoking.  At its best, The Tyra Show gave a sense of love, self worth, and acceptance to young girls.  This is a mission near and dear to my own heart, and it was a wonderful thing to see.  While the short girl cycle of ANTM was not a believable platform for Tyra to push these ideas, her talk show most certainly was.  The reason Tyra is ending the show is to pursue bigger and better projects to further the idea of a more inclusive definition of beauty.  I truly hope that she is successful in these future endeavors.  While I have not always been a Tyra fan, and I am still embarrassed to admit that I am a convert, I wholeheartedly support her quest and what she stands for these days.

Oh, Tyra.  Go Tyra!

Thanks, Tyra Banks, you made my day.  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 161- Target Linda

I know her name is Linda because I looked at her name tag.
I looked at her name tag because she was sweet and kind and made non-awkward conversation with me while she was scanning my purchases.
I don't know why she did this, but I'm glad she did.

Linda is a reminder.  It was only after I had a pleasant experience that I checked for her name and truly recognized her worth.  Being the longtime retail and restaurant queen that I am, I know how easy it is for people to identify me simply by my job title.  I have been the girl with the key to let you in the dressing room, the drink filler, the credit card pusher, the waitress, the plant waterer, the cashier, the soil loader, the manager caller, "hey you" or "Miss!" (my favorite), and much more.  I am the means to an end and the middleman between you and what you came to the store for.  I come into your life for 15 minutes at a time, and then you forget about me and go on your merry way.

But those fifteen minutes are important.  Our lives are made up of those fifteen minute sections where we connect with one another-- or don't. 

Linda didn't know that my husband has been gone all week.
She didn't know that I'm waiting for a few people to return my calls and e-mails.
She didn't know that my main conversation today has been with my dog.

What Linda knew, as far as I could tell, is that she liked the earrings I was buying and thought she might share that with me.  She knew that she was up for a good chat, and I was up for a good chat, so we had a nice little chat.

Thanks, Target Linda, you made my day.

Day 160- Domino's

Hmm... I wrote a blog and posted it last night, but for some reason it didn't save or show up.  Weird!  Anyway, let me try to recreate it :).

It was a rainy windy night,
and I was by myself.
I opened up the pantry
but nothing looked good on the shelf.

I didn't want to brave the weather,
and I had been gone all day.
Plus, the look on puppy's face
was begging me to stay and play.

Then I had an idea
of what might be great for dinner.
A pizza just might do the trick--
Domino's was the winner!

So I ran to my computer
and pulled up their new website.
My pizza was built before my eyes
much to my delight.

I watched the progress of my order
on the handy dandy tracker tool.
The heads up on the timing
let me know when to start to drool.

We hope you enjoy the pizza, they said,
that Jacques custom made for you.
We sent it out for delivery with Steve
at precisely 7:32.

When my order arrived with Steve,
oh, it was delicious.
And to top off all the wonderful,
I didn't have to do the dishes!


Thank you, Domino's, you made my day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 159- Idina Menzel

Happy Glee Tuesday!

Since the first time I saw Rachel (Lea Michele) on this show, I have wanted Idina Menzel to be her mom.  I'm feeling pretty smug now that my wish has come true and exceeded my expectations.  These two completely blew me away last week with "I Dreamed a Dream."  I heard rumors that they would do another duet this week, Ga Ga's "Poker Face."  I was so excited, but I tried to hold out from finding the track online ahead of time... that lasted until Saturday.  Then, Tom and I listened to it on repeat for about two hours straight.  On the show tonight, it was, in their words "marvelous."  Exceptional.



Idina's resume is full of all of the roles I'd love to play if I had any sort of acting/singing/dancing/hot girl talent, including Maureen in RENT, Elphaba in Wicked, and wife of Taye Diggs in real life.  I caught her once on Soundstage on PBS, recorded it, and watched it every day for a month.  Ok, yes, I admit it... I have a total girl crush on her. 

I could go on and on... but instead I'm going to go bake some snickerdoodles for my second meeting with my new coworkers.  I like to lead with baked goods.  I'll keep my girl crushes to myself for now.

Thank you, Idina Menzel, you made my day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 158- Shout Wipes

Dear Shout Wipes,

I appreciate you saving my shirt tonight.  You see, I was riveted by The Bachelorette.  I cannot believe some of the goobs those casting directors found this season (Shooter... that story?  Really? Hmm).  However, I do believe that Roberto and that guy from Cape Cod just might save the season and give us the hot tub moments and dramatic rose ceremonies we crave (and by we, I mean the two of us who still watch this show).  Unfortunately, my large bowl of spaghetti did not share my love for the show and decided to attack my shirt about it.  Twice.

But you... you just stepped in and took charge and saved the day.  I just wanted to drop you a little note to let you know how much my shirt and I appreciate it.

Thank you, Shout wipes, you made my day.

P.S. Say hi to cousin Tide stick for me!   

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 157- Lukewarm Shower

90-degree weather + working outside + 8 hours + me= a hot mess

One of my friends at work stuck a bag patch on me halfway through my shift.  My arm was so lotiony and sweaty that it did not even hurt to tear it off.  Gross.

Enter cold-- er -- lukewarm shower. 

I usually adore showers so scalding that my skin is pink when I'm done, so cold is not an option for me.  However, a lukewarm shower was just what I needed to turn me back into a real girl again :).  A few more days in the sweat lodge that is Missouri summer, and I may just be swimsuit ready after all!

Thank you, lukewarm shower, you made my day.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 156- Nordstrom Guide to Men's Style

My husband is a fashionista.  I got a lot of exercise this afternoon walking the runway from one end of the mall to the other and back again.  As Tom was agonizing for hours (HOURS!) over which shade of brown belt to buy at Nordstrom, I sat down in a plush chair and picked up some reading material.  When I found this little gem, I laughed out loud.  This made me look even crazier than Tom to passersby, and everyone ended up a winner.

"Incredibly versatile, the sport coat is the MacGyver of clothing- it can unite a combination of seemingly random components into something that makes perfect sense.  Genius." 
Tom Julian

Now Tom is really going to want a sport coat!  Heck, I may even want one now...

Thank you, Nordstrom Guide to Men's Style, you made my day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 155- Date Night

date night
what fun
Tom, me
honey buns

Italian dinner
tasty food
dim lighting
romantic mood

Fox Theater
fabulous place
extravagant architecture
great space

Young Frankenstein
tickets free
luxury box
so fancy

funny play
"mature" jokes
Tom laughed
almost choked

date night
was legit
feelin' like
hot... well... you know :)


Thanks, date night, you made my day.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 154- Little Blue Box

And I don't know how it gets better than this
You take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless
And I don't know why but with you I dance
In a storm in my best dress, fearless
"Fearless" Taylor Swift


I am spoiled today.  After dinner, Tom went into the kitchen to get us some "ice cream" and returned with something that looked a little like this.
Inside was something I may have hinted about a bit when I saw it in the Tiffany's catalog a while back.  Side note: Why is Tiffany's sending me a catalog?  I should probably cancel that because I am a sucker.  It is an apple necklace that I thought might be a lovely little celebration once I got a teaching job.  Little did I know that I'd get a job so quickly and that Tom would actually get it for me.  Surprise!  Have I mentioned how lucky I am?

Oh, and I still got the ice cream too... cookie dough... seriously lucky.

Thank you, little blue box (and Tom!), you made my day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 153- Puppy Dreams


Here's another one for the ol' blog dictionary (as defined by General Ferri)...

puppy dreams: noun



1. Dreams experienced by dogs, characterized by moans, whimpers, growls and involuntary body gestures, such as twitching, tail wagging and lip licking.

2. What I was having (oh so pleasantly about my girl next door Tinkerbell) before Mom and Dad woke me up with their giggling.

Related words:
cat naps
sheep sleeps

Sample sentence:

In my puppy dreams, I like to run in circles, hoover food, chase my tail, sit on the couch with Mom and Dad, get out all my toys, and hump things.

General was so cute with his little legs running during his puppy dreams, especially wearing his special Memorial Day gear.


Thank you, puppy dreams, you made my day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 152- NPH!!!!


Tuesday might as well be themed Glee day.  If I don't write about something Glee related on a Tuesday, then I've had a really awesome and earth shattering day!

NPH was on Glee tonight... OH MY WORD!!  For those of you who are not close personal friends of his(like I am, of course), NPH stands for Neil Patrick Harris.  When I was a child with a gigantic crush on NPH as Doogie Howser, all I wanted was to be his girlfriend (Wanda... that lucky, lucky lady) and to have him type sweet nothings to me slowly on a computer screen while reading them as a voiceover.  If you would have told me then that it was possible to love him any more, I would have said "Not possible!"

But I do.  To borrow a lyric from Brad Paisley, Neil, "And I thought I loved you then..."  I won't bore you with all the details of our love affair.  If you love him too, then you know the millions of things he has done since Doogie to win me over time and time again.  If you don't know, then, quite frankly, you don't deserve to bask in the amazingness that is NPH.


He was on Glee tonight. 
He was on Glee with a mullet as part of a flashback. 
He was on Glee with a mullet as part of a flashback and then sang a life-changing "Dream On" duet with Matthew Morrison and then flirted with Sue Sylvester and then gave custom made New Traditions jean jackets to the club and...

I literally let out a happy sigh while watching and then- SHOCKINGLY- was speechless in an explosion of happiness.  It doesn't matter that Neil is gay, and I am married.  Our love knows no boundaries. 

Thank you, NPH, you made my day.



            

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 151- Leann Rimes

Leann has made some questionable choices in her personal life these past few years, but she has also made some incredible music.

I love this song down to the very last drop.  When I first heard it a couple of years ago, I listened to it on repeat, as I tend to do.  We took a break.  I put it on a cd and listened to it obsessively in the car.  We took another break.  We're back together as of today.

In my dreams, when I'm a country singer, this is often the type of heartfelt country singer I am.  In the car/shower/empty house, it is frequently the type of singer I am as well.  There is something so comforting in the lyrics that can turn any day around for me.

I will learn to let go what I cannot change
I will learn to forgive what I cannot change
I will learn to love what I cannot change
But I will change, I will change
Whatever I, whenever I can

"What I Cannot Change" by Leann Rimes



Beauty. Strength. Motivation. Inspiration. Simply good music.

Thank you, Leann Rimes, you made my day.

Day 150- Mail

When we got home tonight (after a bit of a delay), it was pouring down rain, and we realized that we had not had the foresight to pack any kind of gear... you know, like an umbrella or some coats...

However, we are home sweet home safe and sound, and that's so nice.  Tom and I have discussed before that we both have the same fear that we will pull up to the house and find it flooded or burned to the ground.  This may have something to do with the plumbing emergency we found in progress the first day we walked in with our own set of keys.  Welcome to home ownership!  We both hold our breath as we pull into the neighborhood and only exhale once we've made it inside and see that everything is in order and just as it should be.  I love the feeling of the exhale of relief, followed by an inhale of the smell of our house.  After all, every house has its own specific scent, and I am certain that I could recognize the scent of any house I've ever lived in (or visited frequently) in a lineup.

As we drove up to the house, we saw that all of this rain has made our lawn lush and green, and our plants have come back big and strong and ready to show themselves off to the neighborhood.  We're excited to see all the blooms bust open soon, and we were happy to see that we didn't miss the big reveal.

The best surprise of all, the best saved for last, was the mail.  I had two packages, treasures that I had ordered shipped right to my door (no, not THE dress yet), and my contract waiting for me.  Exciting :).  Usually I am a careful opener of envelopes, but these pieces of mail called for reckless joy, as the envelopes were not nearly as important as the contents inside.  They were lovely welcome back gifts to our lovely house and our lovely lives.

Tom and I are so lucky to be able to travel and see our families, and I cherish each and every opportunity we get for these visits.  I always think, when we drive up to a house still intact and smell the scent of OUR home, that we are also extremely lucky to come home to this.  Sometimes it takes going away to truly appreciate the home and the life we have built for ourselves here and how blessed we are (cue cheesy Full House music as the "lesson of the day" scene fades...)

Thank you, mail, you made my day.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 149- Texas

a. pool + sun= hint of a tan

b. pool beverages + Brazilian steakhouse= jiffy pop stomach

c. Hangover + laughing Ferri family= smiles

d. Daria + 50= unbelievable (she's like Michelle Pfeiffer, she ages backwards!)

e. Tom + handstands in the pool= entertainment (he only scored one perfect ten and was unable to complete a pirouette, but oh... it was lovely)

f. Texas + my hair= "The higher the hair, the closer to God."

(a+b+c+d+e+f)= relaxation... ahhhh

Thanks, Texas, you made my day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 148- Jeep Compass

The Jeep Compass did what two airplanes couldn't do today.  It got us safely to the Yellow Rose Ranch in Texas (the Ferri homestead).

We got up at 4:15am and flew from St. Louis to Dallas.  We then flew from Dallas to San Antonio, circled a whole bunch of times, suffered through some nasty turbulence, circled a bunch more times, and ended up in Houston.  Houston is not equal to San Antonio.

After sitting on the runway for quite some time with no indication that we would fly today, we took matters into our own hands... and by took matters into our own hands, I mean Tom took the steering wheel of a Jeep Compass into his hands and drove the necessary 4 1/2 hours to get from point A to point B...

About 14 hours after our alarm clock jolted us awake this morning, we finally arrived in Medina to celebrate Daria's birthday weekend.  I think I'm going to go sleep about it now.

Thank you, Jeep Compass, you made my day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 147- Country Lane

Tom called up the kennel to see what the absolute latest time was that we could take General in tonight.  We have an early flight tomorrow, but we sure miss that little guy when he's not around, so we always wait until the last minute to take him in.  Tom's conversation went a little something like this.

Tom "Hi. What time do you close tonight?"

Country Lane "6:30. Are you bringing General in?"

Tom "Uhhh... yeah, yeah I am."

Country Lane "Oh.  I only asked because he's the last one coming in tonight.  We love General!  He's everybody's friend!" 

I hate leaving him, but I'm glad he's in good hands :).  It's also nice to hear that they all like our guy... he's like our practice "child" before the real thing, and it's good to know that we're doing an okay job raising a fine young dog.

Thank you, Country Lane, you made my day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 146- Jay Mohr

Jay Mohr + The View= Magic

"My son yesterday at his school, it was dress as your favorite rockstar or actor day.  He called me on the phone before I was about to do, uh, this big press tour and, you know, I'm super nervous because you want people to buy your book, and he says 'Daddy, today is dress like your favorite star, your favorite actor,' and I'm like ohh Indiana Jones, Hans Solo.  He goes 'I'm gonna dress like you.'  And I'm like right about to go on camera, and I almost start crying, and I go 'Buddy, how are you- what are you gonna wear to dress like me?' and he goes 'I can't really explain it, but they'll know, like, from my energy.'"

Awwww.  Sweet. 

"Your child does something all day where you just have no idea what they're doing... like why does he take all his clothes off to poop?  What's wrong with him?!"

"I'm done... two words you never want to hear because they're either handing you trash, or you have to clean them up."

Hilarious.

He asked his dad what he would do to improve as a dad.  His dad told him he would do a better job of showing his love.  "I realized your parents are giving you every single thing they got.  You gotta let go of your resentment, drop the rock.  There's no rainy day fund, there's nothing up their sleeve for one day when you're having a rough day that they're gonna go 'I love you!'  They're giving you everything they got, and you gotta love them back with everything you got.  My father's answer to 'What's the easiest thing about loving your children?' my father's answer was 'loving them unconditionally.'  Reading that, I just started crying."

Beautiful. 

Then he proceeded to tell a story about how he and his wife always saw the adult diapers next to the others when they were buying diapers for their son.  So, they decided to try them one day.  The result?  The two of them were running around the house "laughing like pot heads."  The punchline?  "You know what's really amazing?  I'm peeing right now!"

I guess you had to see it.  Funny.

I'm pretty sure the next time I leave Barnes and Noble, I will have used my special card to purchase his book :).

Thank you, Jay Mohr, you made my day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 145- Key Lime Cake

I have to be honest.  After a number of home runs, Trisha Yearwood finally had a strike.  In her cookbook, the lime cake looked like it was magically green and delicious.  On my dinner table, it was magically green, but there was nothing special about the taste... it wasn't memorable in a good or bad way.

But, boy did I have fun making it...

Tom and I cranked up the music in the kitchen while we got to work, me making the cake and him doing the dishes (something wonderful in and of itself).  We danced and sang and laughed, and it was like a scene out of a movie.  I ended up with lime juice and powdered sugar all over me, breezy and messy and happy.

Before I iced the cake, we each took a big ol' finger swipe taste from the bowl (and the homemade cream cheese icing actually was quite delicious).

It was nice to have this little reminder that sometimes the fun comes in the making and not just the eating (or the process and not just the end goal, I suppose...)

Thank you, key lime cake, you made my day.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 144- VS Online

Have you been missing the bad poetry?  No?  Oh, well here it is anyway... ;)


So, there's this dress.
I've been obsessed.

From a catalog, I ripped it out
and it was all I could think about.


In the picture, it looks so nice.
Did I mention it is reasonably priced?

Days went by, then I looked it up online.
It passed the test... I still hoped it would be mine.

Finally, today I selected it and added it to my bag.
At long last, I ordered it, and how my tail did wag.

I'm smiling so big and wide that it's hurting my cheeks,
For my dress will be here (hopefully) in less than two weeks!


Did you notice that my terrible poem is in the shape of my new dress?  Woo hoo! :)

Thank you, VS online, you made my day.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 143- Mom

   
I stood there glaring at myself in the fitting room mirror. I’m not sure how it’s possible to dislike a scared little 90 lb. girl so much, but I did. I saw a girl who no one would ever have a crush on or date or love. I saw a girl that no one could possibly want to be friends with because she was such a dork. I saw a girl who didn’t look good in anything, couldn’t do anything, and most certainly wouldn’t be anything.

My mom and I had been so excited when The Gap opened at our mall, and we were even more excited to see that they carried a size zero that might actually fit my tiny little eighth grade frame. But, there I stood, the pants hanging off of me, loathing myself. I wasn’t just a size zero. I was a zero.

I tiptoed out of the fitting room with tears in my eyes, hoping that my mom would see me quickly before anyone else could, so she could agree that these pants were horrible too, and we could just go home. Instead, she followed me back into the fitting room. I was startled mid-change and quickly scrambled into my jeans. She sat me down, looked me square in the eye, and said, “It’s not the pants, Jess. You won’t like any of the pants until you like the girl who wears them. We’re getting these.” Before I could fight back, she swooped up the pants and left to pay.

I had no idea what had just happened. She just doesn’t understand, I thought, fighting back sobs. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that she was right and had said something to me that would stick with me for the rest of my life. I wasn’t ready for it yet. I was wallowing in my teen angst and thinking about how unfair it was to be stuck in a body so frail and so small that people elbowed each other when they saw me and watched me like a hawk at meals, no matter how much I ate. Yet, my mom understood me to the core, bought me the dang pants despite myself, and shared with me one of the most important lessons that I would ever learn. I will always love her for that.

**********

I learned at an early age that my mom does not just belong to me; I don’t just mean that she belongs to my sister too. I am not exaggerating when I say that I cannot go anywhere with my mom without running into one of her other “kids.” She has sons and daughters of every age and from every walk of life. They run up to her, eager to share their accomplishments or their own children or their troubles. Whether they tell her that they have just graduated from college or have just been released from jail (I have seen both), she greets each one of them with the same warm smile and open heart (and sometimes open arms and warm embrace, if they really go for it). They’re her kids too, and she loves them. I have made myself a turkey sandwich at a graduation open house at just about every home in the Western School District. I have celebrated weddings in just about every church in the greater Parma/Jackson area and have attended more plays, dances, sporting events, band concerts, and bridal/baby showers than I can count. If my mom does all this for her other “kids,” you can imagine what she has done for us. Ballet, gymnastics, piano, t-ball, track meets, cross country meets, gymnastics meets… swimming lessons, basketball camp, catechism class… rides here and there and everywhere… warm meals on the table every night. She is a full-time teacher, a full-time mom, and a full-time example of a strong, independent woman. We have laughed until we cried and cried until we laughed. Oh, and then there’s the love.


**********


I have never doubted that I was a special kid to my mom, and I cherished the moments when I got her all to myself. I think of her every time I hear a song from The Bodyguard Soundtrack because we listened to that tape together so much that I’m surprised we didn’t wear it out. I think of my mom when I see little kids with bad haircuts or women with shoes that don’t match their dresses because she would NOT stand for that. It was always the best for her little girls, pretty haircuts and pretty shoes, even when she couldn’t have all those things for herself. I think of my mom in libraries. Boy, did she help me to develop my love of libraries. She’d take Manda and I to the Parma Library once a week all summer and stay until we had scoured the entire place for the perfect set of books to bring home (even though she knew we’d probably end up with Sweet Valley High anyway). I think of her when I see “black lip kids” (you know, rainbow hair, piercings, gothic clothing). She used to tell me that if I ever needed attention that badly, I should let her know, and she’d buy me an outfit. She even let me take her up on that.  I think about my mom when I go swimming.  I'm always looking over my shoulder for her at the pool/lake/beach, waiting to be chased with a bottle of detangler so that my hair isn't impossible at the end a day of swimming. I think about my mom every time I hear “Beautiful in My Eyes” by Joshua Kadison. She always tells me that this is our song, and I am her Mona Lisa. Yeah, I’ve never had any doubts that I am special to her. “And there are lines upon my face/ from a lifetime of smiles…”


**********


I think of my mom constantly now, as I walk in her footsteps. She’s always been a little sad that my sister and I are little replicas of my dad and that all I got from her was my feet (although I must thank you for those feet, Mom… no offense Dad… ha ha). That’s where she’s wrong, though. I have been told my whole life that I remind people of my mom, if not in looks, then certainly in disposition and mannerisms. In fact, everyone assumed that I would be a teacher just like she is. I was not ready to make that decision for myself in college, and Mom still blames herself for “talking me out of it.” She didn’t. As I said, I was not ready. I was blissfully happy and foolish and messy and irresponsible and would have made a horrible teacher. I was as self-centered as college allowed me to be and was finally learning the lesson that Mom had tried to teach me in the dressing room for myself. I was testing myself and figuring out who I was. What my mom does not give herself credit for is talking me back into teaching. I left college confident and happy about who I was, but I still had no clue what I wanted to be. Mom suggested that I try substitute teaching while I figured it out, and I obliged because I was living back at home and didn’t have any better ideas. I fell in love for the second time (the first being with my husband, of course. Side note: Mom really taught me how to pick a winner too. After all, she gave me my dad as the most wonderful example of a man. Have I earned back those feet points yet, Dad?). I fell in love with teaching.

I have entered into the most rewarding career I can possibly imagine, and I am able to approach it with the maturity and passion that I was lacking in earlier years. I have always thought that the older I get, the more I can understand and appreciate my mom, and our shared profession only deepens this. We can now delight in experiences that few others can understand and roll our eyes together about kids that only we would meet. Our outsides may not totally look like a matched set, but our insides are perfectly in tune. We have always shared love, we have often shared friendship, and now we will share teaching. I am excited to add another item to the list of all the things Mom is to me. Colleague.


**********


Mom, I’m sorry that I can’t be there with you today, but I know you understand. Instead, I will spend the day honoring everyone else’s moms. I will smile at them, load their mulch, listen warmly to their (sometimes inappropriate) stories, and make them feel special. You taught me how to do that.

I love you more than words or a silly little blog can say. Happy Mother’s Day!



Thank you, Mom, you made my day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 142- Betty White

At 88 1/2 years young, Betty White made both of our dreams come true by hosting Saturday Night Live.  She was joined by many of my other favorite women from the show-- Molly Shannon, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ana Gasteyer, Rachel Dratch... pretty awesome.

I have loved Betty White since Manda and I used to obsessively watch Golden Girls.  Even though we took a quiz, and I was Sophia and Manda was Dorothy (sorry, Sister), I always loved Rose the best.  She was just so cute and kooky.

I stayed up way later than I should have to watch Betty tonight, and I had super high expectations for the show.  It was fabulous.  I'm not even mad.  Betty White proved once again in a number of ways why she is an icon, a legend, and a national treasure.  She joked about her muffin on "Delicious Dish," poked fun at Facebook and herself in a hilarious monologue, and played the silly lady we've all come to know and love.  Oh, Betty.

And, of course, Jay Z added an extra little cherry on top.

Thank you, Betty White (and all those other ladies too), you made my day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 141- Barnes and Noble

I was a bad girl today.

I wore my pajamas until after 12.

I spent more than my rewards certificate on my customary Friday afternoon cruise through my favorite Hallmark store.

I bought a $3 coffee, even though I have plenty of coffee at home.

I made the dog go for a long walk with me, despite the fact that the wind was blowing us both over.

I ate two lunches.

That's not even the worst of it. 

After my stroll through Hallmark (where I actually did have some cards to buy, to be fair), I took an equally pleasurable stroll through Barnes and Noble (where I also had legitimate business to do, mind you).  I left with my expensive coffee in one hand and more than $100 worth of books and a Barnes and Noble special membership in the other.  I'm not even sorry.  When I made it to the car, I took out the books and inhaled deeply.  Don't fresh books have the most wonderful fragrance?  I love the library too, but the smells are just not the same. 

The worst part of all this is I'll probably do it again, especially now that I have a lot more time on my hands and a discount card in my wallet.  However, as I curled up on the couch this afternoon with a book I've been wanting to read for a long time, I couldn't have cared less.  There may just be a blog about the book tomorrow when I finish it :).... and I may just have to add Barnes and Noble to my Hallmark trip every now and then. 

Thank you, Barnes and Noble, you made my day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 140- Law and Order: Special Victims Unit

In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories.

The gavel drops, and I am enraptured for another hour.

Yes, I may watch a bit too much tv. 

That being said, I thoroughly enjoy SVU.  Especially when USA runs a marathon and I get to catch up on all kinds of episodes.

This show is able to do something completely unique and unimaginable.  It presents some of the world's most terrible criminals and crimes-- pedophiles, rape, murder, serial killers, kidnapping, etc.  The things they talk about and show make me cringe and feel terrible.  However, trusty Stabler and Benson are somehow able to solve all of these cases within an hour, and the world is a safe place once again.

I love all of the supporting characters too.  B.D. Wong is so smart and insightful.  I'm pretty sure he's a psychiatrist in real life too.  I'd like to run into him in NYC.  Munch and Tutuola add an extra somethin' somethin', and Dr. Melinda Turner is my hero.


Dreamboat.  Small Crush.  It's ok, Tom has a crush on him too.

I'd really enjoy a guest starring role... especially one where I got to talk to Elliot and be analyzed by B.D.  I would settle for an examination from Turner and an interview with Olivia :).  Who am I kidding, I would lay in a chalk outline to be on that show.

Now back to my marathon...

Thank you, Law and Order: SVU, you made my day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 139- Clean Bathrooms

I fully understand that my husband is a prize, and I will sing his praises for (almost) every day for the rest of my life.  There are times, every so often, when I get to thinking that he's kind of lucky too.  Today was one of those times.  Not only do I cook (today I prepared a lovely Cinco de Mayo feast), but I also clean.  Not only do I clean, but I also clean toilets.

I am not fond of bathrooms, especially public restrooms.  I will go a full eight hour drive from Missouri to Michigan without once stepping foot in a strange stall.  I flew from LA to Australia once, only entering the airplane bathroom to brush my teeth.  I worked at Home Depot for over a year before I ever stepped foot in a bathroom there, although when I did, I was pleasantly surprised that they are as neat as can be expected.  If a porta potty is my only available option, I am convinced that I can hold it as long as it takes (this has been tested up to fourteen hours thus far) to avoid the "Honey Bucket," or whatever other cutesy name those companies give their portable toilets to try to make me forget.

When I visit other people's homes, taking a trip to the bathroom gives me a true sense of whether or not I will be comfortable.  The first time I went to meet my in-laws at their house and used their bathroom, it was cute and clean and smelled like Christmas.  We get along just fine.  Thank goodness.

I must admit that my own bathrooms have gone by the wayside recently.  I had a million other things going on, and these rooms have not received the deep cleaning they deserve in longer than I'd care to say.  Until today.  I scrubbed every single inch of every single surface of every single bathroom in this house (that's three bathrooms, for those of you who are counting).  I went through multiple Chlorox wipes and paper towels and even wore out a sponge.  I stood on counters to dust the lights and got on my hands and knees to scrub the floor boards.  I cleaned the crap out of those bathrooms (no pun intended).   

In case you can't tell, I'm quite pleased with myself today.  I am as sparkly and shiny as my bathrooms :).

Thank you, clean bathrooms, you made my day.

Day 138- Happy Hour

We had our last student teaching seminar today.  All of us that were out teaching English all semester got together to celebrate completing (and passing!) our portfolios.  We discussed our experiences and shared something from the portfolios that we were proud of (beyond just finishing).

After class, we headed off to the current Methods class to share our vast wisdom with the next crop of student teachers.  I remembered sitting in on this panel during my internship and now here we all were on the other side.  Time really does fly when you're having fun!  I was jealous of all these lucky bums who get to go in and do what we have just finished because they have no idea how magical those next few months in the fall will be.  I reminded myself a few times that the same thing will be true for me next year, and that I am lucky enough to have my own classroom lined up already, where I'm sure I will experience a year more rewarding that I can even imagine. 

The best part of it all was heading out for happy hour with my colleagues at the end of the day.  We have all worked so hard, discussed every aspect of teaching we could think of over the past few years, challenged each other, supported each other, and so much more.  Although I couldn't get too "happy" because I had to drive home, I spent more than an hour enjoying the company of the only group of people who can truly understand what my life has been like over the past year.  As with any ending of an era, we all vowed to keep in touch.  I know not everyone will, but there are a few people I hope I stay connected with over the years in our tight knit little circle of teachers.  I will be hoping and praying that they get jobs because there are classrooms of students out there who would be oh so lucky to have them!  I can't think of a better ending to this experience than a good time with a group of people, my professor included, who are burning with the same fire to educate and change the world as I am. 

Thank you, happy hour, you made my day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 137- Benadryl

Drip.
Drip.
Drip.
Sniffle Sniffle.

Drip Drip Drip.
Cough.
Cough.

Drip.
Drip.
Drip.
Sniffle Sniffle.

Cough Cough Cough Cough.  Sniffle.  Cough Cough Sniffle Cough Cough Sniffle Sniffle Cough.

Water + Benadryl (x2)

Ahhhhh. 

Thank you, Benadryl, you made my day.

Day 136- Andy Gibb

Popular movies and television shows would have you believe that people randomly break into song and dance.  Pshhh... as if.  People don't really do that, do they?

I do.  So do some of my customers.  For most of the day today, I couldn't walk two steps in my department without bumping into- sometimes literally- a customer who needed my help.  I definitely walked and lifted off some of the hibernation 10.  Finally, around six o'clock, the traffic in the store died down.  I got to spend much of my last hour obsessively compusively straightening things to my heart's content.  My manager had put on my favorite work satellite radio station, a selection of classics from the disco era.

This station is how I came to know and love such fabulous songs as "Hotline" by the Sylvers and "Starting All Over Again" by Hall and Oates.  These songs make me feel as if I'm floating around... or, even better, as if I am roller skating around, except in this dreamworld, I am a good skater and spend more time on my feet than on the floor.

The song that kept me going today was "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" by Andy Gibb.  As I "roller skated" around my own little Xanadu dream world with a rhythmic shake of the hips, a customer performing a similar motion came around the corner, and we busted each other. 

"Good song," I said grinning.
"Sure is," he responded, smiling and nodding through his Barry Gibb mustache. 

In his head, I'm sure he was choreographing our Gibb dance number right along with me.



Thank you, Andy Gibb, you made my day. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day 135- Lazy Saturday

When you work six days a week,
That means a one-day weekend,
and you must use that one day right,
so you don't go off the deep end.

Clean the clothes, write lesson plans,
Work work work all day.
I never thought I'd see again
a lazy Saturday.

But now that student teaching's done
and my class almost is too,
Today I allowed myself to think
there's nothing that I must do.

I read and ate and loved my dog
and caught up on my DVR
My husband said, "Did you leave the couch?"
I did but didn't get too far.

Tonight we watched our first movie in
hmm... it's been a while.
Just us, the dog, and popcorn-
three great reasons to smile.

Though I'll be sad on Monday
and have to cook and clean my boredom away,
I enjoyed to the fullest extent
My lazy Saturday.

Thanks, lazy Saturday, you made my day.