Saturday, January 24, 2015

From Ugh to Aaahhh!

I had been looking forward to Friday ALL week.
It was the one "empty box" on my calendar.
The two days prior to it were completely packed with commitments, so once Friday arrived....I was in heaven.
Until I began my typical morning Facebook perusal.
And found out my kids only had a 1/2 day of school.
I realize it's finals week...but couldn't they just corral them all in the gym and make them meditate or do push-ups or something until 3:00?
Surely they could extend finals for an additional three hours, right?!
And why is daycare only offered for young children?
I suppose I could have called around to see if they would accept teenagers.
Maybe the local doggie daycare would, if not the regular daycare?
I mean, they ARE up to date on all their shots and everything.
The only saving grace is that they are at a show choir invitational all day I guess that will kind of make up for it.
Except my husband is home now.
Maybe I can send him to the adult day care in town?
Actually...all I need to do is suggest he go ice fishing...and I'm home free.

A few weeks ago, I placed an order for a "spoon ring" from the Vintage Pearl.
(If you haven't heard of's a cute little online "shop" were you can order hand stamped jewelry.  Anyway...the price was right, and I've always been wanting a "spoon" or "fork" ring.
Anyway, I chose to get a lower case "b" in the italic lettering.
Bad idea.
It arrived yesterday....and it just looks like an upside down "g."

And I have SO many "g's" in my name.  Or none.
Add that to yesterday's 
"Things that make me go "ugh" list. :-/
On to happier lists!
Today....the "Things that make me to AAHHHHH list!!"
(I might need to go grab some chocolate to clear my palate...I need to get the disappointment of that stupid ring out of my head."
Some adorable dog pictures should help. :))
Could there be a cuter pair?!
I'm in love.
Some days are harder than others. LOL

Okay....on to the AAHHHHHH list~!

1.  Every adorable dog (and baby!) above!
2. Good hair days.
3. When magazines arrive in the mail.
4. When unexpected checks arrive in the mail. (Or expected ones...those are nice too!)
5. When something you aren't looking forward to gets cancelled.
6. Random acts of kindness.
7. When my kids are happy/successful/joyful/goofy/kind/etc.
8. When I feel appreciated.
9. Those "magical" musical moments.
10. Super productive days.
11. When I feel really motivated...(I wish that would happen RIGHT NOW!)
12. When you receive a note/card/letter that makes you feel really good, out of the blue.
13. When you are cold...that moment you sink into a hot bubble bath.
14. The first day it's warm enough to open the windows after a long winter.
15. A really good massage (for me, when they start working on my neck and head...HEAVEN!)
16. Sliding into a freshly made bed (with really fluffy pillows!)
17. That day when your house is perfectly clean. (I'm going to assume this is an AAHHHH moment....since I'm still waiting for that damn day.)
18. Writing the last check for any loan you have.
19. That first bite of cheesecake/chocolate cake/key lime pie/anything delicious.
20. That first step out the school door on the last day of school before summer vacation. (I will never forget those aahhhhs from my teaching days!)
21. Finding EXACTLY what you have been looking for...on clearance!
22. Getting the really cute waiter when you are out with your girlfriends.
23.  When your husband offers to do the grocery shopping, AND he comes home with the RIGHT stuff!
24. When there just happens to be a marathon of your very favorite show on the day you are home sick.
25. When you find out the hotel you are supposed to be staying at is overbooked, so they had to upgrade you to the jacuzzi suite.
What are your AAHHHHH moments?

My biggest AAHHH moment will be when I convince my husband that my life will not be complete until this baby is in my arms!!!
I better get working on that.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Things That Make Me Go Ugh ;)

As I was pondering today's post, I began to think about where my life is going.
I have definitely felt a strong "dip" in a lot of areas lately.
Mostly areas involving creativity.
I haven't been doing much to change things up in the house (other than re-arranging the furniture in the small living room area we have after removing the Christmas tree.)
I should mention that January is typically a time of year when I need CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE!
My writing has become very dull and monotonous. (obviously!!)
It's hard to come up with interesting topics when you don't feel like you are doing anything interesting to write about.
Maybe I need to get another naughty dog. 
I never lacked material when Bennett lived here, that's for sure!

I haven't done anything musically creative (other than stuff for work) for a LONG time.  By that, I mean nothing that is just for me.
I think the perfect solution would be a week (or four) on a quiet, secluded, tropical island, where I could just lay on the beach (and the cabana boy would make sure I stayed hydrated) and search for the meaning of life.
Or, at least do some soul searching into the meaning of MY life.
But....that just isn't in the cards.
So...I will have to figure out a different plan.
Until then, I will just keep pondering.
Today I decided to write about things that make me go "ugh."
This came to mind as soon as I woke up.
Two days ago, I added a lovely white comforter to our bed, because I found that the blankets I had on weren't quite up to par in the "keep us warm" factor.
As always, I was snuggling with my chihuahua Riley.
I got out of bed to see that he had at some point gotten sick, and threw up not once, but three times, as he made his way across my once lovely comforter.
Hence, the things that make me go "ugh."
"Ugh" can encompass a wide range of things, from "gross" to "disappointing" to "annoying."
I have been told I have a facial expression for each of them.  
I think I was just born with uber expressive eyebrows.

A terrible poker player I would be.
On to the list.
It will be a partial list.  You would be here all day if it were complete.
And yes...this is really just a pet peeve list.
Here we go!

1. People (my son) who puts empty food containers back in the fridge, cupboards.
2. My husband's new laugh (that sounds like that "cat with a hairball sound" you can make with your throat.) My kids have started doing it too.
3. Pepperoni hiding underneath the cheese on my pizza. I HATE pepperoni.
4. Headaches.
5. When there is still lotion in the bottle, but the pump is too short to reach it.
6. That one piece of fruit or vegetable that unbeknownst to you, got separated from the rest, rotted, and smells horrible...but you can't figure out where the smell is coming from.
7. Paper cuts.
8. Meetings that are just wrapping up....and then one person starts talking about something, and you are forced to sit there for another 20 minutes.
9. When you write something in your calendar in PEN, and realize you are writing it in the wrong Month. (I hate messing up my calendar!)
10. When someone else drives your car, and screws up your seat and window placement....and you can never get it quite right again.
11. Gross mouth noises.  (Probably my biggest UGH!)
12. When you are leaving on a trip...and twenty miles into it, you realize you have to turn around because you have forgotten something important.
13. Bad breath.
14. When it is Easter morning, and you play a fabulous prelude, and time it perfectly so it will end right at 10 am for the start of Mass.....and when nothing happens, you realize that Mass doesn't actually start until 10:15.  Oops.
15. When you get all dressed up, and are feeling super confident and attractive...and then hit a patch of ice and wipe out in front of a bunch of people.
16.  When you get the flu or give birth on your friend's wedding days.
(yeah...both happened.)
17. When you order take-out, and they didn't  get your order right, but you don't realize it until you have driven all the way home.  Or you are trying to eat in the car...and they NEVER give you napkins.
18. When the batteries in your remote control die.
19.  If anyone knocks on your door on the days you have declared "not showering or getting out of my pj's" days. (And it NEVER fails that it's a cute delivery guy.  The unattractive ones only come when we look good.)
20.  When you go all out on a big party, or are putting on a big event, but few or none of your closest friends show up.
What are your biggest "UGH'S?"
Tomorrow....we will turn this frown upside down, and list our AAAHHHHS!!! he might be saying "BAAAHHH" but you get the idea. ;)

Have a great FRIDAY!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

I am starting to realize that I need to have a "come to Jesus" moment.....
with myself.
Those "baby steps" I have been attempting to take have turned into something that resembles more of a "I'm stuck in the mud...and going nowhere" scenario.
Not exactly what I had planned.
For instance...I am writing this at 1:00am.
That is a pretty good indicator that I will not be getting up at a reasonable time, and taking on the world, like I would like to be.
More than likely...I will sleep until the last possible moment, and then rush to get ready and hope to make it to work on time.
I don't have to be there until 12:30, so I could use the entire morning to get lots of other things done....but who am I fooling?  

The one area that is really frustrating me is that darn work-out room that has been at a complete stand-still.
The tread-mill is up and running...but I certainly am not.
I keep trying to gear myself up for it....attempting to motivate myself to go down there and try it out (that's right...I haven't even tried the darn thing out yet) but then I get home and think "eh...maybe tomorrow."

I have this picture in my head of how the room will look when it is finished, and I, for some reason, am refusing to do anything in there until it's all done.
Right now, it's a big mess with a treadmill in the middle of it....not exactly a motivational work-out environment.  
Maybe I will try and get it put together this weekend.
Lord knows I need to start SOON!!

I have also been at a stand still with my office area organization.
I am still in search of the perfect file cabinet thingy.
I decided to take my time, and wait until I find exactly what I'm looking for...rather than settling for something that just kind of works.
I hope it shows up soon...because I'm sick of that mess too.

Is it really possible to have an area that is this^^ tidy and neat?
I love how it looks...but I have to wonder if they actually store anything here...or if they just display cute office supplies?
I'm guessing the latter.

I started reading a fabulous book yesterday...I will tell you about it tomorrow.
(Hey, it will give me something to write about!!)
But for now, I have two goofy, furry boys who are attempting to coax me into going to bed. (They are too short and fat to get all the way up on the bed themselves.)

So, the three of us will waddle our way toward dreamland....and wish you a lovely Thursday!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cream Puffs and Queens

I spent my Tuesday feeling kind of cruddy.
I woke up at 4am with a weird tummy...and just went down hill from there.
That made three days in a row of sloth-like behavior.
No matter has to be a different scenario.
I have work to do from sloth-li-ness (I am almost positive that is a real word) will not be an option.

I have decided to thrill you with a Wednesday of 

1. It truly does not matter if I consume 100 calories or 10,000.  
I have officially reached the point of no return.
Apparently 42 was the magic age of "this is when your metabolism will shut down."  I had hoped it would be more like age 72...or 92.

I can no longer depend on my eating habits to solve my weight issues.
I now have to add the dreaded exercise element to my regimen.
Lucky me.

2. Dogs (well, animals in general) but in my case, dogs are the best source of entertainment, companionship, affection, and joy ever.
If humans would just start following the example of these amazing animals, we would live in a wonderful world.

And they are FUNNY!!!

And so adorable. Right along with their feline counterparts.

3. I was born without a filter.  I have learned to live with this...and really am fine with it.  In fact, in all honesty, it's probably a good thing (most of the time.)
I have about a 98% success rate of keeping my mouth shut when the thoughts in my head would be hurtful or might cause conflict (if I actually voiced them)...but if I have a strong opinion about something, I have a hard time keeping quiet about it.
I suppose that is the benefit of having a blog.
I can pontificate all I want....although I try to be careful about what I write here too.
It really is interesting, isn't it?  We all have the freedom of "free speech" however, we aren't always free to use that freedom because of things like our jobs, our religion, our cultures, etc.
Because I am Catholic and work at a Catholic church...I have to be careful about what I post via social media, or what I write about publicly.  There are definitely some things I strongly disagree with regarding Catholic teachings...and I have been chastised for making that known.
Sometimes, it's just easier to avoid the topic all together.
However....if there is injustice occurring, and I feel that I can have a voice as far as making people aware, and perhaps moving toward a positive change...then I am darn well going to make some noise!

4.  People can be so dumb and heartless.

I was watching yet another video on Facebook where two guys were doing an experiment.  Both were out in public on crutches, while carrying a few bags.  One was dressed nicely, the other was dressed like a homeless man.
They would intentionally fall off their crutch when there was a group of people nearby.
EVERY TIME the well dressed man fell, several people stopped to help him up, gather his bags, and made sure he was ok.
When the "homeless guy" fell (and his falls were more severe, and he had more stuff) people would just scatter, and walk around him.  The ONLY time anyone helped him was when he fell near another homeless man who was sitting on a street corner.  That man immediately got up and helped.

How pathetic is that?  Is our society that heartless?  We don't have enough compassion to stop for 30 seconds to help someone less fortunate than ourselves back onto their feet?  I was disgusted by it.
It sure was eye opening though.  It made me want to do more.  It made me want to really try to put myself in the shoes of the people I see who are obviously struggling.  It's far too easy to just avert my eyes and walk on by.
I know if it were me in that position, I would hope someone would notice me.

5.  And, on a completely unrelated topic:
Neither of my children are allowed to get married until I am able to 
get this dress....and look this fabulous in it.

I do not feel that I am asking to much.
I might have to grow another 6-8 inches...but so be it.

6. And finally....would you not agree that this cream puff queen looks eerily like my daughter Lexie??

Cream Puff Queen (from some Scandanavian Country)


Okay....I really don't if she was a Cream Puff Queen...but her dress IS made out of cream puffs.  That would be far too tempting, and sticky for me.

Whoo-hoo!  The clock just struck midnight, so I am going to post this baby, and go to bed!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Running the Race

Everyday brings with it a new perspective.
It brings the perspective from which I see things....and it brings the perspective from which I view others.
Some days are filled with awe and wonder.  They are filled with joy at the kindness and generosity of mankind.
I hear news of something amazing that has occurred, and it restores my faith in humanity.
I wish I had more of those days.
I have to be honest with you...I typically start my day with a routine that perhaps is one I should change.
While I ponder whether or not to drag my butt out of bed, I usually grab my phone, and peruse Facebook.
I figure this allows me to stay in bed a little longer, I can catch up on the events of the past 8-10 hours, and maybe I will be more inspired to actually get up and do something after my "morning check-in."
Yesterday, one of the big stories was about that horrific 26 vehicle pile-up on I-84 near Baker City, OR on Sunday. (There were several that day, actually.)
The one I'm referring to is the unbelievable story about the man who wound up completely smashed in between two semi trucks...yet walked away with only scratches.

This picture is unbelievable.
The only piece of truck that was left intact was where he was sitting.

How anyone survived's just miraculous.

The reason I am writing about this is not because it's unbelievable (which it is!)
I'm writing about it because of the comments I read about it.

KNDU-TV posted the story on Facebook.
Now, one would think that people would have just clicked "like" and moved on.
Well....40,078 people did that.
But there are SOOOO many comments as well.
One that I found rather funny was:
"Looks like Chevy just found their new ad campaign."
But then it went downhill.

A woman posted:
I just showed this picture to my 8 year old.  He immediately said "God saved his life."
1,911 people liked that comment.

 But a whole LOT of people didn't.
And it began.  That stupid, horrible thing that people do.
Here are some of their comments to her post:
*Congrats on brainwashing a child.
*And when someone dies, does your son also say "God killed him."
*Did you show him pics of the dead people? Why would you ruin such a young person with that "god talk??"
*Awww, brainwashing children.  How adorable.
*It was either God or Santa.  Guess we will never know?
*Ugh. I hate it when people teach their child stupidity.
*Your child should write a fake heaven story like the other fakes.
*Wow...must mean it's true if your 8 year old said it...

Now...people can believe whatever they want.  I personally have to believe that it was more than luck, and more than good "car engineering" that saved this man.  I really believe there was a higher power at work, and it wasn't his time to go.  
What I don't understand is how people who believe differently feel the need to be so nasty in how they express themselves.

Had things been coming from the other side....for instance, if the mother had said "My 8 year old son said "That must be the luckiest man alive!"
I certainly don't think there would have been an onslaught of Christians attacking her and her son for not claiming that it was God who saved this man.
Of course, I could be wrong....but I really don't see it happening.
This is what I don't understand about humans.
Why are we so damn sure we know everything?

It seems to me that if we would let go of the need to control everything, and let go of the belief that we know everything, this world would be a lot less ugly.

When I think about religion, I wonder....what do we REALLY know?
We "know" what we read in the bible.
However....what we read and how we interpret it is going to be different from one person to the next.
Also....religion revolves around a man we have never seen, never heard, never touched, never met.
We put our faith in hope that what we are being told is accurate and true.
We are just mere humans.  What do we really know?
And the pastors and priests and religious leaders that are educating us....they are teaching us what they have learned...they are passing their knowledge on to us.
And, for some reason....we start to believe that we know everything.  And what we know is right.  And if it is different than the person next to us, well obviously they are wrong.
We close our ears and open our mouths, when it is the opposite that we really should be doing.
And, if we REALLY want to move forward as a united front, and stop this ridiculous cycle, we need to close our mouths 
and open our HEARTS.
After getting myself all good and worked up over all of this...I decided to unwind in the bathtub.
I always listen to NPR when I'm getting ready.
I find classical music and bubble baths are an excellent combination.
I had timed things just right (unintentionally) so that my tub time coordinated with the Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute that was taking place in Milwaukee.

There were musical performances and speeches.
And then, an 8 year old boy (not sure what the deal is with 8 year old boys today)
got up to read the "I Have A Dream" speech.
I have, of course, heard this speech many times.
But for some reason, this time it stabbed me right in the heart.

I sobbed through the whole thing.
Why on earth are we still fighting for that dream to come true?
Yes...progress has been made.
Thank God.
But, there are still so many minds out there that remain closed.
So many people who refuse to open their eyes to the fact that it is not a person's skin color, their religion, their nationality that continues tear the human race apart.
But instead, it is limiting beliefs, it is the refusal to admit that we don't know it all, it is believing that there is only one way for things to be done, one color that is superior, one gender that can rise to the top.
It is closing our eyes, our ears, our minds and our hearts....and teaching our children to do the same.
It is choosing to only associate with people who hold the same close minded belief system that we do.

How different the world would be, if everyone would just open their minds and their hearts.  If everyone would learn to accept each other simply as a member of the human race.
If every person was treated with kindness and respect, and every person had equal rights....regardless of any aspect that may make them "different" in the eyes of what society has labeled the "norm."

If money stopped being a conduit of greed and power, and instead was used toward creating a society that offered a level playing field to everyone.  A way for the poverty stricken and homeless to get back on their feet.  A way for everyone to succeed.  A way for those who have been treated unfairly because of their gender or color or sexual identity to receive equal opportunities.
I just find it so appalling that there is this small pocket of uber rich, and an overwhelming surplus of people who are not even able to get by, even though they are working 2-3 jobs.
Obviously, we have one messed up system here.

I guess what I really wish was that I was either really brilliant, and could run for office and do something about it....or, that someone who IS really brilliant WILL run for office, and will start to make some positive changes.
So, for now....I will continue to just try to stand up for what I believe in, stop any hateful/hurtful behavior that I witness, spread kindness, and keep on hoping and praying that someday, the human race will finally get their shit together, realize that we really have no clue what we are talking about, and proceed with grace, dignity, compassion, and honor......and finally unite.
Because, after all, we are all from the same race....the human race.
I think whoever it was, that first suggested otherwise, was a fool.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Start Again

I always amaze myself on Sundays.
This Sunday was no exception.
I proved that it is, indeed, possible to spend an entire day in bed.  Doing absolutely nothing.

Well....I did get up to eat.
But I pretended it was morning...all day (so I didn't feel so guilty about staying in bed.)
I had eggs for breakfast, crepes for lunch, and pancakes for dinner.
I'm sure those healthy choices didn't immediately turn to fat as I sat there like a beached whale.

It's really quite amazing how exhausting it is to do nothing.
I actually had to take a little nap around 6pm so I could stay awake until bedtime.
I should also mention, as I'm writing this...the visual that I am creating of myself is so beyond attractive...if I were single, I think I would want to date myself.
Or maybe not.
Luckily, my kids followed suit, and were just as lazy as I was.
(I think we were all a little tired.)

Mark, on the other hand, decided to spend his Sunday sitting out on some frozen body of water in his portable lake home...attempting to catch a fish (which, of course, did not happen.)

I am guessing that this is the only way he ever gets any quiet time to himself.
I think I would find someplace warmer, and more aesthetically pleasing than an insulated plywood man-playhouse....but, hey, whatever trips his trigger.

I told him I would make him some pretty bench cushions....he hasn't responded yet.

This looks lonely to me!

At any rate...we get to start fresh yet again today.
Gotta love Monday.

Now...the trick is to wake up in one of those "take on the day" moods.
Once I get that figured out....I will be in business!
The good news is that I burned through ALL of the Castle episodes I had at least that temptation is no longer available.

Here is to a great (and productive/fun/energy filled!) Monday!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Stage Mom

I have decided that it isn't a bad thing to live vicariously through your kids.
Especially when they are doing things that make you so proud of them.
I should maybe start by admitting I am officially a "show choir mom."
I wonder if they will ever make a reality show about this.
I mean, they have "Toddlers and Tiaras" why wouldn't they have 
"Show Choir Monsters?"
I would totally watch it.
There was a time when I stated that:
1. My kids would never be in show choir.
2. I would never be "one of those moms."

And look at me now!! ;)

Here is the deal.  I never knew my kids would love it so much.
Nor did I know that they would be so good at it.
I remember when they were little, I said to Mark "what are we going to do if these kids are tone deaf? Or if they have no sense of rhythm?"  "What happens if we end up with a couple of jocks?"
He just looked at me and shrugged.
We quickly realized that we didn't have to worry about Lexie.
At age two, she would be playing nearby as I gave voice lessons at our house.  (I typically taught high school students.)
When I would teach them new warm-ups, it would sometimes take them a few times through to sing it correctly.
If they screwed it up more than 2-3 times, Lexie (age 2 at the time) would come over to the piano, and say (in her very matter of fact, way too adult...yet hilarious 2 year old voice) NO! It goes wike dis! And then she would proceed to sing it for them...flawlessly...every time.

She was quite the character.

Sam never showed any interest for singing.  However, rhythm was his life.
From the time he could hold himself up, he would bounce like a mad man.
When he was little, we would have dance marathons every single night.
I think we wore out our Michael Jackson and Ricky Martin CD's.
He would dance until he was dripping with sweat.
And the kid had moves!!
When he was in preschool, he started beat boxing.
He, of course, had no idea what beat boxing was...but he was really good at it.
I remember when we were at this pizza place that had video games, and other annoying things that distracted kids.
He came over, spitting out a funky beat, while he said: (again, in 4 year old talk.)
"I meed some money...(bah ba duh) poor my bideo game (pah pa du ba da)"'s really hard to convey a funky beat with syllables.
Just know, it was clever, funky, and very funny.

They were such cuties.

Anyway, when 6th grade rolled around, my husband (a band director) asked Sam what instrument he was going to choose.
Sam looked at him like he was mentally challenged, and said;
"Why on EARTH would I ever want to be in band??"
I should mention that there was no sarcasm when he said that.
He was dead serious.
He joined the orchestra instead.

All of the sudden, these two little cherubs are in high school...and my little pudgy girl who would trip over her own feet when dancing in the living room is now this beautiful, dynamic performer...who can dance and sing like nobody's business.

Whenever she is on stage, I can't take my eyes off her...and it's not just because she is my kid.
(And thank you God for giving me a kid with talent.  I'm not quite sure what I would have done had my child been a kid who really loved all of this stuff...but really was tone deaf, and super clumsy and awkward.
That would have been rough on both of us. 
And then there is my son.
My introverted, "I don't sing or dance" son who prefers to hang out in his room ALL DAY LONG and read or draw or play video games.
The kid who has a couple of good friends he will do things with every once in awhile, but really just is happy being alone.
The boy who I never thought would come out of his shell.
And now....he is right up on that stage next to his sister...singing and dancing his little heart out.
And on top of that...he even joined the drama club.
Who is this child??
As far as me living vicariously through them....
After they performed at this weekend's invitational, their whole show choir was on stage, dancing around and just having fun while the scores were being tabulated.
I sat in the bleachers, and just watched them.
I honestly had to fight back tears.
It was an odd sensation, because I was sitting in the middle of a gym packed with screaming teenagers, with music being cranked through huge speakers, and everyone is wild and dancing....yet I want to cry.
Not because I am sad...but because I am watching my kids, and they are both so obviously filled with so much joy.
Sam was in the back with a bunch of the other guys, dancing and goofing around.
Lexie was right in the front of the stage, one of the leaders...looking, quite frankly, way too grown up and sexy in her flashy hot pink show choir dress.
But that doesn't really bother me...because I am happy for her.
I am happy that she is beautiful, and able to feel so confident and express herself with such freedom and ease.
She never for a second looks self conscious or unsure of herself. (Which is how I would have felt...because I have never possessed her self esteem.) 
She just looks happy.
And so does Sam.
And isn't that all we really want for our kids?
To be able to enjoy life, and to be happy?
So, yes, for those moments, I did live vicariously through them...and for those moments, I too, felt genuine bliss.
 I had something more precious than anything money could ever buy....
My very heart was standing up there on that stage,
and knowing that those two kids have joy, friendship, music, and love in their lives makes my life complete.

Have a wonderful Sunday!