Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 194- Cathy at DESE

I called.
I had questions and concerns.
You picked up and apologized for the wait... you even seemed to mean it.
You listened kindly and answered kindly.
I got the information I needed, and  you were perfectly pleasant and helpful the whole time.
I know you must be terribly busy right now.  In fact, you told me that you were... but not in an annoyed way or a frazzled way... just in a matter of fact "Yes, we've received over 2000 requests for processing, but give me a minute, and we'll figure out exactly what your status is," kind of way.

It is quite satisfying to call somewhere with a goal in mind and to end the call with all of the information you need and a cherry on top.  A Cathy on top?  No, I think I like cherry better.

Thank you, Cathy, you made my day.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 193- Francesca Battistelli

I don't need to use too many of my words to describe Francesca because her song lyrics speak for her.  I love listening to her cd in my car because she sings my thoughts.  In her song "It's Your Life," she basically sums up my whole day to day philosophy and says all the things I have been trying to say for the past 192 days.  It's amazing how she is able to say so much in so few words.

This is the moment
It’s on the line
Which way you gonna fall?
In the middle between
Wrong and right
But you know after all

It’s your life
What you gonna do?
The world is watching you
Every day the choices you make
Say what you are and who
Your heart beats for
It’s an open door
It’s your life

Are you who you always said you would be?
With a sinking feeling in your chest
Always waiting for someone else to fix you
Tell me when did you forget


To live the way that you believe
This is your opportunity
To let your life be one that lights the way


I am so glad that I rediscovered this cd recently.  It is 11 tracks of uplifting wonderful that make my life brigher every time I hear them.

Thank you, Francesca Battistelli, you made my day.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 192- Mac 'n' Cheese

Today's math problem:

Me + 2 shifts at work + early lot guy called in (extra loading for me) + light dinner before shift 2 + carb craving = late night mac 'n' cheese!

I ate almost the entire box by myself before Tom decided that he wanted some after all.  I haven't done that in a long time!  Mac 'n' cheese has always been one of my favorite comfort foods.

When I was learning to cook, I believe it was one of the first things I ever learned to make.
When I was sick, I always rejoiced when I smelled the boiling pasta scent coming from the kitchen.
When my dog Punkie died, my mom made it for me and let me lick the powdered cheese off the spoon.
When Grandma Ginny told us all that she had an exciting surprise for Christmas Eve one year and everyone else was puzzled when that surprise turned out to be deep fried macaroni and cheese bites, I was over the moon.
When I devoured my Krafty treat tonight, my stomach thanked me and sighed in contentment. 

Thank you, mac 'n' cheese, you made my day.

Day 191- Princesses

It's too hard today to choose just one. 

The first Princess of the Day was Miss Lydia Christian.  She is the daughter of my CT and the cutest baby in the St. Charles area.  No, really, I believe this was voted on and agreed upon in 2009.  Anyway, I went to her first birthday party today, and she is such a doll.  She even ate her cake like a little princess... and then smeared it all over her face.  That's my kind of girl!  Even though he is not a princess, I think Jackson Christian deserves an honorable mention for being darling too, and Jessica (Mommy) Christian (the queen) most certainly deserves a special shoutout for putting on the delightful party.  The Christian children are the kind of kids that make you want to have kids.  Yes, you.  Me?  I need to make it through this first year of teaching... don't get all excited just yet.  After that, we'll talk.

The next princess that rocked my world today was that lovely, lovely waitress at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse who delivered our sizzling-in-butter-steaks, broccoli au gratin, and shoestring potatoes to the table.  I am a sucker for potatoes and things sizzling in butter and/or topped with cheese.  Good work, Princess.  I made sure my husband showed you our appreciation.

The final princesses (err... witches... same thing?  close enough?) that I enjoyed today were all of the actresses living out my dream on the stage in Wicked at the Fox.  Elphaba, you gave me chills with "Defying Gravity."  Glinda, I loved you the whole way through!  It was wicked awesome.  Get it?  Wicked? 

Thank you, princesses, you made my day.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 190- Silky's

I can't believe it took us until June (almost July-whoa) for our first Silky's trip this year!  I guess we really have been busy. 

Our first ever trip to Silky's took place the first summer that we moved here.  We had driven past the place a few times, and it looked good, so we finally stopped one night.  After looking over the menu of frozen custard done a million different ways, I decided to go for my standard small chocolate cone.  Tom was more adventurous, however, and decided to expand his horizons.  I wonder what a concrete is, he said to me.  I told him that he should just ask, but that's just not how he does things.  Instead, he simply ordered a chocolate concrete.

"With what...?" asked the girl at the counter.
"Um, just chocolate," was his reply.
"Yeah, chocolate."
"Uhh... ok."

At this point, I knew that something was up.  I'm sure deep down Tom did too, but dangit, he had ordered his chocolate concrete, and he was going to stick this thing out.  When the girl slid open the window and passed us our order, Tom looked quizically at his foreign treat.

"What is it?"
"A cup of chocolate frozen custard."

We looked back up at the menu and saw a whole list of toppings.  He could have had cookie dough, peanut butter cups, m&m's, Snickers, chocolate chips, or any variety of other lovelies mixed in blizzard-style to his custard.  Instead, we paid extra for a plain cup of custard.  Lesson learned.

We learned another important lesson that day.  Silky's is SO GOOD.  Tonight we had a nice little dessert there, me with my small chocolate cone and Tom with his chocolate concrete (with cookie dough...wahoo).  It was cooled down enough to sit outside amongst the kids with messy faces.  In fact, for a minute we were the kids with messy faces :).

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 189- Moonlit Smooch

The moon was as bright as I've ever seen it, casting artsy shadows on the sidewalk.
General trotted happily in front of us, our baby enjoying the undivided attention of his parents.
The night air had actually cooled- a cold front?- only 75 degrees.  Ahhh.
The neighborhood was mostly dark, quiet, everyone tucked away for the night.
Just us and the lightning bugs.

Suddenly, we stopped.  A kiss planted.  There's your romance, his eyes said.

Yeah... that will hold me over for another six months ;).

Thank you, moonlit smooch, you made my day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 188- Schnucks Produce Section

I was already enjoying my stroll around the Schnucks produce section today because it was so nice and cool.  Somewhere between the asparagus and the zucchini, one of my favorite things happened.  The little sprinkler things came on, and the old song started.

"I'm singggggggging in the rain/ Just singing in the rain/ What a glorious feelin'/ I'm happy again."

It makes me smile every time :). 

I wish that there were more situations in life where happy music randomly played and/or people broke into song.  According to Glee, this is totally possible.  A girl can dream, right?

Thank you, Shnucks produce section, you made my day.   

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 187- Air Conditioning

During our 7 1/2 hour drive home from Michigan today, we started to get nervous.  The temperature gauge on my rearview mirror told a story of a hot day that was turning hotter and hotter with each mile we drove.  By the time we got off the highway and made it home, we saw that it was 94 degrees... at 5 pm... with humidity that made the heat index 10 degrees hotter.

I stumbled into the house with my suitcase and all my junk.  I was expecting to find relief from the heat and general grossness in the air.  Instead, I was smacked in the face with hot, humid air.  I went to the thermostat to see what in the world was going on.  It turns out that Tom turned off all systems while we were gone, and the house was a 91 degree sauna/sweat lodge.  Oh Missouri summer... home sweltering home. 

I quickly cranked on the air conditioning and waited for it to work its magic.  After many lethargic, frizzy haired minutes on the couch, I began to feel some relief.  It is currently 83 degrees outside (but according to weather.com, it feels like 93).  I am lounging comfortably inside in my mid-70 degree haven.  Ahhhh...

Thank you, air conditioning, you made my day. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 186- Name That Tune Moment

My parents took us out this morning for breakfast at Barb's Country Kitchen.  That was delightful in and of itself.  I love buttery restaurant toast, and it's something that I can never make quite the same at home... but that's neither here nor there.

The real moment of the day came on the car ride home.  We were discussing Jack Johnson, and my dad said that he had never heard of him before.  My mom wasn't sure that she had either.  I was suprised (he was one of my favorites in college, after all) and started listing off all of the Jack Johnson songs I knew.  My parents were still puzzled, but I thought that surely they had heard something by JJ before.  I started singing "Bubble Toes," and within a few bars of the song, a lightbulb went on for my mom.  She told me she was all excited because having people sing something never helps her to recognize the song.  In this case, she got it right away.  I was equally as excited because my rendition of a song is usually nowhere near recognizable for others.  We had a good chuckle about the whole thing, and I had visions of future humdinger success in Cranium dancing in my head.

Thank you, name that tune moment, you made my day.

Day 185- Dad

I'm not sure how to do my dad justice. He can best be explained through bloopers reels, long phone conversations, and notes written in greeting cards. There's just no way to capture those "you had to be there" moments in words. However, since it is Father's Day, I'll do the best I can... through a list of the top five lessons I have learned from the larger-than-life-too-good-for-words man that I have the privilege of calling Dad.

1. No blood= no tears.

My dad never had any sons, but he did have two daughters who were willing to put down Barbies for baseballs and to do many of the things my dad would have wanted to do with a son. In fact, Dad broke gender barriers by agreeing to coach a local t-ball team and therefore securing my sister as the first female to ever be allowed into the league. He later went on to create a team with an all-girls infield, including his two daughters (of course), that was laughed at by other teams but finished the season undefeated. Go Parma Pirates! Terry Mierzwa... feminist? Kind of, but not so fast...

Dad also liked to have knock down drag out wrestling matches with his girls. The rule was that the first one to cry was the loser. I always lost. To this and many other crying scenarios, Dad always had the same response.

"Are you bleeding?"
"Nnnnn.... nooooooo."
"Then why are you crying?"

Last summer I sliced my finger open-- badly-- while working at the Depot. As the blood gushed out, I calmly bandaged it before returning straight back to work. My male coworkers looked on in awe.

"Doesn't it hurt?"
"Yes. Yes, very much. But I’m fine."

It was bleeding all over the place, but I still didn't cry. I'm Terry's girl.

2. If it's broken, fix it.

There was never anything that went wrong at my house that my dad couldn't fix... or at least there wasn't anything he didn't think he could fix. One of my favorite examples of this came one winter when the pipes froze. Dad could clearly conquer this problem. He called us all into the hallway because if he was going to fix something, he sure did like an audience. He cut a hole in the ceiling, rounded up all of the blow dryers in the house and attached them to a board, plugged the contraption in, and blew a fuse. Fuse fixed. Repeat. Fuse fixed. Repeat. Fuse fixed. Repeat. I honestly can't remember how those pipes were thawed that day. It's possible that his invention eventually worked. It's equally as possible that we had to wait for them to thaw on their own or that we stood shifting from foot to foot in the hall as he tried plans B-E. The important thing here is that Dad does not fail. He simply succeeds... or creates opportunities to use his three favorite words in every way possible. Mother. Humping. And... one that would turn any situation from PG to R.

Over the years, we were called on to help with many projects. I often suspected that Dad didn't actually need help. Rather, he thought that if he was stuck in the basement/yard/garage/shed/barn, someone else should be there with him through it all too. Plus, if he used his three words in their full blown glory with no one around to hear them, would they still be as satisfying? He claimed that we should be learning how to do things for the future. I believe that the truth lies somewhere in the middle of these two ideas. That being said, I wish that I would have watched more closely and listened a little better. As I encounter all of the DIY projects in my own house that Dad predicted for my future, I sure would like some of those tips. However, when I can use something that I did learn from our tutorial sessions, I am so proud, and I sometimes even have to call my dad to let him know. This mow's for you, Dad!

3. Just dance!

I think my love of music and dancing, as well as my inability to really shine at either, must come from my dad. This is not an insult. In fact, I consider it sort of a blessing. I will never dance or sing or play an instrument for fame or fortune. However, I do these things on a daily basis with reckless abandon simply for the sheer joy that they bring to my life. I learned this from the dance parties of my youth. Dad would put on records (Cyndi Lauper, if it was my choice) and spin us around the room. He would oblige us in our every dance request, which usually meant pretending to do the lifts from Girls Just Wanna Have Fun or Dirty Dancing or whatever other dance movie we happened to be obsessed with at the time. I can’t explain to you how fond my memories are of these silly nights in the living room.

I still admire my dad for the way he breaks into song and dance whenever he feels so inclined. People love to spout the “Dance like no one is watching” cliché, but while they’re talking about it, Dad is living it. That’s just how he rolls.

4. Punishment and reward… punishment as a reward?

My Dad’s standards are incredibly high (C’mon… have you seen/met my mom? Seriously…). When I was growing up, his inner Simon Cowell would come out a lot when I was desperately seeking approval. You think your room is clean? It’s a “B” right now. Try for an “A.” You think that boy loves you? Get real. You can do better. You can be better, faster, smarter, stronger, nicer. Yes, you are blessed. Don’t let them prayin’ knees get lazy. Gosh, it could be so frustrating sometimes… but you know what? At the risk of never living this statement down, you were usually right, Dad.

Good enough is not good enough. Why wouldn’t I want to be the best? My Dad pushed me to find a higher gear. He led by example. I don’t know any other man who works harder, tries harder, prays harder, loves harder, or plays harder than Dad. When my dad knows that I am doing my absolute best (even if it is only someone else’s good), there is no one prouder than him. With all the pushing comes loving, with all the critiques come the cheerleading, and with all the punishment comes reward. I was once sentenced to pull dandelions from the yard but promised $0.01 for each one I picked. I stayed out plucking until I had the 6900 dandelions I needed to earn me a new dress I had been eyeing. True to his word, my dad paid out with a twinkle in an eye.

My dad also taught me that punishing others could be its own reward, in the nicest possible way of course. We Mierzwas are winners. We win at board games. We win bets. We win even when others don’t realize they’re in a contest. We are trash talkers, we are sore losers, we are even worse winners, and we love every minute of it.

Dad never let me win at anything. Even as a small child. He doesn’t know how. I have the luxury of knowing that I have earned every win… including all those Scrabble wins. Right, Dad? I know this taunting will mean that we have to have a rematch ASAP. I’m okay with that. I’m Terry’s girl.

5. I loved her first.

This is the mushy one. Consider yourself warned.

My dad chose the song for us to dance to at my wedding, and I was so pleased. It was “I Loved Her First” by Heartland, and he may have allowed it to bring a watery eye or two, even in the absence of blood.

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it's still hard to give her away
I loved her first

I may be cheating a bit because this is actually two major lessons in one… a twofer! Dad taught me two of the most important things I will ever learn about love. I learned the first lesson through his love for my mother. Oh, how he loves that woman. Even though Manda and I would get all grossed out when we were younger (and still do sometimes) when Dad would pull Mom in for a kiss or say sappy things to her, I truly appreciate the foundation that each gesture laid. Through his adoration of my mom, and the care and respect he gives to his own mother, I learned how I should expect to be treated. I took this lesson so literally that I married a man so much like my father that sometimes all I can do is laugh and shake my head at the two of them.

My dad also taught me how to be loved through his own unconditional love. He is a man who is not afraid to show his feelings. He has never had a problem telling me that he loves me. In fact, he does this quite often. When I was a teenager, this embarrassed me. At times, I would walk away without saying it back, but I would smile deep down in my heart. Sometimes he laughs at me, sometimes he doesn’t understand me, and sometimes (well, one time) he dropped me on my head and left a dent. Always he loves me.

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do

Dad, sometimes (ok, often) I laugh at you.
Sometimes I have no idea what in the world you’re doing, and I don’t always get you either.
One time I worthlessly sobbed in another room while my sister put your toes back on after you cut them off with a mower (Lesson #5.5 Never pull the safety guard off of a push mower. It is there for a reason). Sorry about that.

Always I love you. Happy Father’s Day.

Thank you, Dad, you made my day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 184- Brandon Howard

Okay, you'll have to excuse me for being brief tonight.  My parents hosted my cousin Debby's wedding at their house today, and things have been a bit busy around here.  This was only compounded by the fact that we had no power for half of the day, and the generator was also out until this afternoon.  Luckily, everything turned out great, and good times were had by many.

One guest in particular who had an especially awesome time was my cousin Janeen's son.  He is eight and his name is Brandon, but it might as well be MJ or Usher because let me tell you... this kid can dance.  When a song comes on, he doesn't just dance.  You can tell that he really feels it.  He has a natural rhythm and ease of movement that I can only wish I had.  It's absolutely delightful to watch.

And watch we did!  At one point, the dance floor cleared, and he was out there on his own dancing to "Billy Jean" and pulling out all of the classic Michael moves.  I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes!  His little face was focused, and he was in the zone.  To top it all off, he was dressed in a little tux.  Tom turned to me and said, "I want to have kids as long as we can have kids like this."  Agreed.

Thank you, Brandon Howard, you made my day.    

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 183- Michigan Summer Afternoon

aka Summer Scene part II

Sunshine, warm and bright
Mikearita in hand
Goldilocks pool- not too warm, not too cold... just right
Floating on a mat, Tom splashing around beside me, my parents sharing a laugh
Country music blaring on the radio, Keith Urban singing "Who wouldn't wanna be me?"

I have wanted this to be me all summer.  I really love living in Missouri for a number of reasons that have been or will be discussed.  However, there are times when I could do with a little less humidity and a little more of a pool in my backyard.  There are times when I wish I could get a tan but don't want to torture myself by sweatboxing in the yard while the neighbors splash around in their pool.  There are many times when I think about all those perfect summer days from my childhood at the pool or the lake in Michigan.

But... today I had it all.  Before the thunderstorms and hail came in, I had my beautiful Michigan summer afternoon of dreams.  Sing it, Keith!

The sun is shinin'

And this road keeps windin'
Through the prettiest country
From Georgia to Tennessee
And I got the one I love beside me
My troubles behind me
I'm alive and I'm free
Who wouldn't wanna be me

Thank you, Michigan summer afternoon, you made my day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 182- Sparklers

A summer night
The smell of bug spray and bonfire in the air
A group of little boys and one big boy (Tom) running all over the yard

* ` * ` * ` * `*

Magic in their eyes
Pure joy in each frolicking step

Ok, ok, so the lawn was set on fire a few times... and a few people got a little burned... but it's all part of the experience, right? :)

Thank you, sparklers, you made my day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 181- Afternoon Car Ride

I was off to get a bite to eat
when I saw a tail wagging at my feet.
In order to please my little pup
I opened the door and said "Load up!"

I'm sure he was nervous to enter the car
because usually we don't go very far.
Off to the kennel or off to the vet?
He just wasn't ready to settle down yet.

But then the car took a mysterious right,
and General ran to the window to take in this new sight.
Bright colors and burgers and carhops galore!
Puppy was happy right down to his core.

To see him so joyful was such a nice treat
(yes, he can smile... now isn't that neat?)
My grin matched his, my smile so wide,
for what fun we did have on our impromptu car ride.

Thank you, afternoon car ride, you made my day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 180- GAP

I braved the torrential downpour today for a little retail therapy. 

I successfully completed my Father's Day shopping.  Check! 

I ate a pretzel with cream cheese while playing the "Are They Related?" game that my mom and I always used to play at Westwood Mall when I was little.  Check!

The other object of my shopping trip desire was a decent pair of jean shorts.  No check.  Definitely no check. 

I do not fall into the tween range, nor do I qualify for senior citizen discounts.  I like to be able to see the bottom of my shorts, even when I'm wearing a shirt (shocking, I know), but I don't like elastic waistbands.  ***Sidebar- Jessi's Fashion Tip #897- If you're not sure whether it's a top or a dress, then it's a top.  Adding a pair of tights will not make it a dress.*** It turns out that all shorts are either a little too Miley, a little too soccer mom, a little too acid washed, or a lot too holey.  The first two pairs I tried on looked like those Huggies jean diapers I have been giggling about for days.  It's not so funny in a fitting room (ok, it's a little funny... funny enough to text someone about them... but not too productive).  I was excited when I found some that were called "boy cut."  They were longer and baggier, and I thought now that's more my style.  The strategically placed holes I began to notice more when I tried them on?  Yeah... not so much.  Back to the drawing board.

I never did find my perfect denim mate, but I did find some happiness in the form of a sensible pair of khaki shorts at Gap.  Of course, by sensible I mean that the inseam is longer than 2".  Amazing.  I also found a cute pencil skirt to add to my big girl wardrobe, and it was on sale for $11.  I even found Tom a nice thermal for $1.97.  Check, check, check!

Thank you, Gap, you made my day.     


Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 179- Lord, When You Came to the Seashore

As far as hymns go, this one has it all.

1. Spiritual tinglings
2. Singability (although, let's face it, I enjoy singing everything terribly)
3. Emotional memories
4. Occasional choruses en espanol
5. Wonderfully beautiful lyrics with a wonderfully beautiful story and message

Lord, when you came to the seashore
you weren't seeking the wise or the wealthy,
but only asking that I might follow.

REFRAIN (English):
O Lord, in my eyes you were gazing,
Kindly smiling, my name you were saying;
All I treasured, I have left on the sand there;
Close to you, I will find other seas.

REFRAIN (Spanish):
Señor me has mirado a los ojos,
sonriendo has dicho mi nombre,
en la rena he dejado mi barca,
junto a ti buscaré otro mar.

Lord, you knew what my boat carried:
neither money nor weapons for fighting,
but nets for fishing my daily labor.

Lord, have you need of my labor,
hands for service, a heart made for loving,
my arms for lifting the poor and broken?

Lord, send me where you would have me,
to a village, or heart of the city;
I will remember that you are with me.

Today I found #6 for the list in the form of a sing-a-long website.  That's right, it has all the lyrics, lots of pictures of my main man JC, and cheesy synthesized keyboard background music.  General and I played Catholic karaoke all day.  When Tom got home, puppy and I continued raising our voices unto the Lord.  Tom pouted about this for a while... until we invited him to join in.  I think he especially liked the Spanish and the opportunity it gave him to show off how well he can roll his r's.

Thank you, "Lord, When You Came to the Seashore," you made my day.

Day 178- Deoderant

9 hours + 92 degrees + heat index of 103 + HD garden center= sweat city

This baby kept me smelling as cool as a cucumber... literally... even when it was so hot that the hens were laying hard boiled eggs... literally... kind of...

I shouldn't be the only one thanking my deoderant today!

Thank you, deoderant, you made my day.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 177- Jared

Jared the Subway Guy?  No.
Jared the Jeweler?  No.
Jared Leto?  No.

Jared the Stranger?  Yes!  I had to take my second Praxis test today to add on my middle school certification.  I was well-prepared this morning.  I got up early, ate breakfast, grabbed my nicely sharpened #2 pencils and admission ticket, and headed out the door.  Great?  Almost.  I failed to remember that ETS suggested a blue or black pen for the two constructed response questions on the test. 

It turns out that a pencil would have sufficed, and it wasn't a big deal.  However, it also turned out that Jared, the nice young chap sitting in front of me, offered up an extra pen for me to borrow.  It was a small but very much appreciated gesture made by a complete stranger.  Recognized.

Thank you, Jared, you made my day.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 176- Jean Diapers

Ok, sometimes I know I am really easily amused, but this is just too funny.


Huggies is making limited edition diapers that look like... JEANS!  Whaaaaat?  The first time I saw the commercial a week or so ago, I thought it was some kind of Saturday Night Live spoof (remember thong diapers?) or a crazy marketing ploy.  However, it turns out that these are, in fact, legit.  Huggies gives this convincing explanation for their newest product,

"Jeans have always been a Mommy fashion must-have, but now it's time for their little ones to steal the style. Huggies® gets fashion forward with new denim diaper design to help your baby stay trendy while keeping dry."

Fashion forward diapers?  Oh, you're killing me!  Can't.  Stop.  Giggling.  Wait... there's more.  Did I mention the tagline?

"The coolest you'll look pooping your pants."

I have been trying to figure out a way to look cool while pooping my pants, it's true.  The great tragedy here, though, is that these are a limited edition item.  I should probably buy some for our future children and stock them in the basement.  Although, I'd hate to waste my money on these if they're going to come out with something even more fashion forward and trendy in the diaper arena... like pleather... or velour... seersucker!  Could it be?  I'm still laughing. 

Thank you, jean diapers, you made my day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 175- Barnwell Ladies

9:00 Meet with Barnwell ladies at Julie's house. 

9:15-12:00 Discuss English curriculum (and numerous other sidebars) with the ladies

12:15- 12:45 Lunch and chatter

12:45-2:00 Pool/outdoor time... yup, with the ladies

2:00-5:00 Puppy!  Nap!  Snacks! Text from Barnwell lady to hang out with other Barnwell ladies for another Barnwell lady's birthday.  Invitation accepted.

7:00-10:30 Buffalo Wild Wings... birthday celebration... team trivia domination... giggles... beverages

11:30 Home.  Puppy!  Write blog about fun day with Barnwell ladies.

Thank you, Barnwell Ladies, you made my day.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 174- Raspberry Cake

Once upon a time, my family was hanging out at my Grandma Ginny's house, and she offered us some dessert.  We refused because she was supposed to be taking it to some sort of bowling league party or church potluck.  When we looked at the dessert, however, we all cracked up.  A big ol' piece was already missing.  Hence, a new family term was born.

I baked my mom's raspberry cake recipe tonight to take to a potluck tomorrow.  While I usually pour this into a cake pan, I made them as cupcakes this time.  This way no one will know that I "Ginny'd" my dessert :).  They are delicious.  Breakfast tomorrow?  Tempting...

Thank you, raspberry cake, you made my day.

Day 173- Maksim Juras Philo

Dear Maks,

Welcome to the world, little guy! Everyone has been waiting to hear from you all day (and for the past week or so... ahem), and we are all extremely excited that you finally decided to come out and meet your parents.

Speaking of your parents, boy are you lucky. To know them is to love them… I’m sure you’ll figure that out pretty quickly yourself. I’ve known them both since we were just little whippersnappers, and they have been such an important part of my life. We have been around for just about every major milestone in each other’s lives—proms, graduations, 21st birthdays, weddings (check out my Maid of Honor toast for some funny stories about your parents), jobs, spring breaks, apartments, houses, and now you…

Knowing your parents, I just know that you will be extraordinary. From your mom, you will inherit a work ethic and determination that will lead you to accomplish anything you can dream of, just like she has. From your dad, you will learn how to be silly and sweet and how to treat the ladies (but no hurry on that one, little dude). From both of your parents, you will gain a strong devotion to your faith, a pure and genuine heart, a crazy older sister (sorry, Lily the Dog, you know it’s true), a solid set of morals, an adoration of ice cream, a love of sports, a real sense of humor, and maybe even an affinity for cheesy pop songs. They will love you and challenge you and be amazing parents, so you better appreciate them! That being said, if you ever need any blackmail material, I’m your go-to girl ;).

I wish that I could be there to meet you when you come home from the hospital, but we’ll have to wait until July. I'll just have to make it up to you with some presents!  Try not to grow up too much before then. I will pick up with your parents right where we left out, and I’m sure that you and I always be able to do that too. After all, I’ve known your parents since we were little, but I get to say I knew you from when you were zero!

Right now, I love you simply because you exist. I can’t wait to meet you, to hold you, and to begin to discover all of the other reasons why we’ll be great pals. I want to leave you, for now, with the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan (see… I’m kind of cool…).  Thanks for making your parents so happy and for making their dreams come true.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Much love XOXO,

Crazy Aunt Jessi

Thank you, Maksim Juras Philo, you made my day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 172- Vow Renewals

I'm really into the idea of vow renewals and not just because they're trendy these days.  This may be due in small part, however, to the fact that I would like to have a million weddings (parties!) in my lifetime, but I want them all to be with the same person. 

I watched the Tori and Dean finale tonight, and their vow renewal was actually really sweet.  One of them mentioned one idea in particular that really struck a cord with me.  When you get married the first time, and you walk down the aisle, you can't possibly know for sure what you're getting into.  You can prepare in every way possible-- spiritually, financially, emotionally, mentally...  However, there is always an out.  If things get rough or if things are not going exactly as planned, you can cordially excuse yourself from the relationship.  Done.

Once you take those vows, you're in it.  You agree that even though you can't predict what the two of you will face, you promise to face everything together.  When faced with challenges or obstacles, you will look for a way, not a way out. 

This is precisely why I like the idea of renewing these vows.  If five years, twenty five years, or fifty five years down the road you make this commitment all over again, I think that is truly special.  I have learned so much in just three years of marriage.  I have learned that a relationship really can grow better and stronger each and every day.  I have learned "winning" a fight is not necessarily a sign that I was right, it just means that I'm good at arguing or that I know how to talk more loudly or that I am more stubborn.  Furthermore, true "winning" comes from avoiding picking fights altogether and simply having calm conversations.  I have learned all about Tom's annoying habits that I never noticed before, and he has had full exposure to all of mine.  I have learned that love is not always found in romantic moments and candlelit dinners.  It sometimes comes simply in the form of a dishwasher full of clean dishes or a no make-up, sweatpants, greasy hair compliment or a DVR compromise.  I have learned that every time I think I could not possible love my husband any more, he does something to prove me wrong, and the love just continues to grow.  As Brad Paisley so beautifully describes this feeling, "And I thought I loved you then..."

Renewing your vows means that after having been let in all of the secrets of the good, the bad, and the ugly of marriage and knowing what the commitment truly entails, you are willing to do it all over again.  You are choosing to do it all over again. 

This weekend, as I was slow dancing with my Tom at a wedding, he told me that the whole day had reminded him of our wedding.  His glassy eyes, combined with an "I'm so happy," confirmed for me once again that we take our vows to each other on a daily basis.  Now I'd just like to do it officially every ten years or so in order to get our friends and family together for some lively celebrations.  I want to repeat our vows on a beach and in front of our future children and with just the two of us and at different ages and in different dresses and... anything else we can think up together.

Thank you, vow renewals, you made my day. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 171- Pink Lemonade

Blogger is cramping my style!  The site was down all of last night and much of today, but it seems to be fixed now, so here's the little ditty I wrote for yesterday :).

After a fun-filled weekend

We made it home alive

But only after completing

A looooong eight hour drive

This lengthy trek was certainly

Not how my day was made.

Instead, my bit of wonderful

Was a glass of pink lemonade :).

Thank you, pink lemonade, you made my day.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 170- Wolters-Niemi Wedding

Just in case I don't get around to this later...

I love love.  I love weddings.  I love when people find someone who makes them want to stick around through all the bad stuff in order to gain a lifetime of good stuff.

Today we celebrated the wedding of Natalie Wolters and Nick Niemi.  Nick is one of Tom's college roommates, and I know that they will be lifelong friends.  Nick found his perfect sports-loving, crossword puzzle doing, witty, fun, and all around fabulous one and only special someone in Natalie.  He finally put a ring on it today, and we couldn't be happier for the two of them.

The wedding this afternoon was lovely.  Tom was excited that Nick cried because it made him feel better about crying at his own wedding.  Silly boys.  I am excited that another female has decided to stick around this crazy group and that that female is someone as fantastic as Natalie.

I'm off to the reception now, where I'm sure the food will be great, the bar will be busy, and the love will be spread around like butta.  Congrats to the happy couple!!

Thank you, Wolters-Niemi wedding, you made my day.

Day 169- Lisa Kohl

There's a lot I could say about Lisa, but since I am already way behind on writing this after a little Niemi-Wolters-Wedding-Rehearsal-Dinner-After-Party-Fun, I'll just say this.

Lisa and I have been friends since we met.  Literally.  Friendship at first sight.  I was nervous to have some new roommates move into our apartment my junior year of college, but Lisa (and our darling Marisa too, of course) quickly put me at ease.  Within minutes of meeting, she was leaving me post-it note messages with plans for activities (Power Hour commences at 8!).  Her first night in the apartment she also organized a rousing game of Bop-it that lasted until the wee hours of the morning, and I knew she was a keeper.  The following year was filled with sing-a-longs and coloring and Tequila Tuesdays and paper chain making and marathon movie nights and... all the kinds of fun that some silly little girls could imagine.

We share our deep love of all things Michigan, especially football (obviously), church music, Papa Johns pizza with the garlic butter sauce, and much more.  It is only fitting that we have also blended families for tailgates and parties, since we both come from families with open door/open heart kinds of policies.  My parents are always (almost) as excited to see her as I am and have her cell phone number posted in the kitchen.  If you could throw a friendship wedding, I'm pretty sure ours would be one of the most fun you have ever been too.

It just so happens that I am in town for a wedding this weekend, and Lisa is in town to celebrate her law school graduation (along with her brother's high school graduation).  I got to see Lisa, her fabulous family, and her precious dog Molly.  Lucky me :).

Even though Lisa and I built our friendship on all kinds of immature fun, I am so thankful that we are still able to be friends now that we are semi-grownups.  She has been there for many of my major life events, including being a bridesmaid in my wedding.  I am excited to get to celebrate her many accomplishments too.  Most recently, she graduated from law school and got a great job, and I couldn't be prouder.  After all, she's family :).

Thank you, Lisa Kohl, you made my day.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 168- Dizzy Up the Girl

The eight hour drive back to Michigan is like a marathon.  I've never actually run a marathon (although this is one of my life goals... even though this would require me to actually start running again, but that's neither here nor there).  However, I can imagine that it is like a marathon.  Even as you near the finish, you're still thinking to yourself 25 down... yes!  Oh... man... I still have to run one more mile?  Crap.  And so it is with the drive...

With about seven hours down and only one left to go... one LONG hour... I found something fabulous to help us reach the finish line.  From the depths of my car (which is not even messy, by the way), I found my long lost favorite Goo Goo Dolls cd, Dizzy Up the Girl.  I was so excited that I jumped up and down in my seat, and I may have even squealed.  Thankfully, it was Tom's turn to drive, so the car stayed on the road. 

This is one of my favorite albums of all time.  I could give you a million reasons for this, but the thirteen songs on it probably cover my love pretty well.  Dizzy... Slide... Black Balloon... Iris... Acoustic #3...  It's like calling up an old familiar friend I haven't talked to in a while and picking up right where we left off.  When I listen to the album, I can anticipate the track that is coming next, the verse that is coming next, the word that is coming next.  While this may not have been the most enjoyable experience for Tom in the car (listening to me sing every word of all thirteen songs), it was really quite nice for me and helped me get through the drive.

When the Goo Goo Dolls were at the height of their popularity, my sister and I went to see them in concert all over the state of Michigan.  I even saw them at the Jackson County Fair!  I was that silly girl at the concert who allowed herself to believe, if only for a moment, that Johnny Rzeznik was singing directly to me in the cheap seats.  He totally was.

The Goo Goo Dolls are releasing another album this year and going on tour again... OMG.  They will even be in St. Charles... OMG squared.  It is on a school night, but I might just have to go anyway.  Until then, we'll always have Dizzy Up the Girl, Johnny.   

Thank you, Dizzy Up the Girl, you made my day.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 167- Armando Galarraga

While this has not been the best year ever for Tiger-- or the Tigers, for that matter-- tonight was an incredible night for one Tiger in particular.

Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game.

It may not go down that way in the history books, but it happened.  All those fans in the stadium knew it instantly.  So did Cabrera.  So did everyone watching the game on t.v. and everyone who watched the replay afterwards.  The Cleveland Indians knew it.  Heck, even Jim Joyce knew it as soon as he saw the controversial play-heard-round-the-world a second time.

What is just as amazing as this perfect game is the sportsmanship of its perfect pitcher.  Robbed of his greatest accomplishment, Galarraga reacted, according to all accounts, with the utmost integrity, grace, and class. 

"He really feel bad. He probably feel more bad than me," Galarraga told Fox Sports Detroit. "Nobody's perfect, everybody's human. I understand. I give a lot of credit to the guy saying, 'Hey, I need to talk to you because I really say I'm sorry.' That don't happen. You don't see an umpire after the game say I'm sorry."

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/tom_verducci/06/02/joyces.missed.call/index.html?eref=sihp#ixzz0pl771DaT

With that, Galarraga, the most unlikely of heroes, earned his status as a legend in my eyes.  This is beautifully stated in an article on SI.com.  I love sports writers.

"The man threw a perfect game and had it ripped out of his hands -- and yet he responded with grace and professionalism, a wry smile and the remarkable cool to climb right back up on the mound and get the 28th out. Galarraga should be remembered for not what he lost, but for what he gained: a place in posterity as sportsmanship personified."

Maybe baseball will finally get an instant replay.  Maybe they can name it after Galarraga.  "Oooh... that's a close call.  Let's check the Galarraga on that one."

Thank you, Armando Galarraga, you made my day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 166- The Art of Racing in the Rain

My mom recommended this book to me a while back and let me borrow it.  At the time, I wasn't doing a whole lot of reading for pleasure.  Lately, I have, in fact, been doing a lot of reading for pleasure.  I love the summertime :).

I decided to start The Art of Racing in the Rain today in the hopes that I would be able to return it to my mom when I see her briefly this weekend.  I finished it.  Within a few hours.  All 318 pages of it.

I enjoyed the book while I was outside soaking up some sun (with sunscreen on, of course).
I enjoyed it while I did a few loads of laundry.
I enjoyed it while I made dinner.
I enjoyed it while my husband giggled at some silly something or other on tv.

Then I cried.  Not since Bridge to Terabithia (one of my all time favorites) have I really cried while reading a book.  What a phenomenal story.

I had put off reading the book because Mom told  me that it was told from the point-of-view of a dog.  I wasn't so sure about that, but it ended up being one of the biggest reasons why I liked the book.  Tom and I often enjoy making up our own versions of what General is thinking and what he would say if he could talk, and this was a whole book of Garth Stein doing just that... and doing it oh so well.

I don't want to say too much because you should really just read it.  There was one passage so amusing that I read it out loud to Tom, and he laughed until he was red in the face.  And, of course, there was that one spot that made me feel a little mushy.  It was so good that I am writing about the book instead of about Will seducing Sue to "Tell Me Something Good" on Glee (although that was pretty dang great too). 

Thank you, The Art of Racing in the Rain, you made my day.