Thursday, October 7, 2010

Things I hate

Nuts (although pecans and almonds are growing on me)
Cold weather (I'm in trouble, friends. It's coming and there's nothing I can do to stop it.)
Celery (raw celery makes my tongue numb)
Socks and shoes

White noise
Prima donnas
Wearing a jacket or coat
Milk (I know, I'm weird.)
Washing the dishes

But more than anything else right now, I hate sitting at a desk with no work to do.

Seriously, I have absolutely nothing to do. I have answered the phone three times this morning and that's about it. Yes, Dad, I hear you whispering that it's easy money and you're right, but sitting here with no work is very stressful for me. Especially when it's a temp job and I've only been here a week - I want to make a good impression (although I guess I am - yesterday I was told that if I need one, they would gladly provide a recommendation for me "and it would be glowing.") and I want to help out. I'm doing everything they want me to do...I guess I just need to accept that this is a very quiet position in a very quiet office.

But I don't have to like it.

Update: That was this morning. I just had an interview for a permanent position, number 6 or 7, I think. I hate interviewing more than I hate having nothing to do. I hate putting myself out there to be judged over and over again. I hate that I know how good I am but apparently I am not conveying that. And I hate feeling so frustrated about the whole thing.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bits and Bobs

I don't tweet but I have had lots of thoughts recently that I then thought would make good twitters (tweets? twits? chirps?). These are some of them:

I heard The Young and the Restless theme song (also known as "Nadia's Theme") just now. I cannot stand Y&R plus I am usually at work at this time of day, so it has been years and years since I heard it. I had forgotten what a pretty song it is.

Honeycrisp apples - yum!!

My parents were here this weekend. Good visit but it didn't go completely unmarred. Friday night, my mother said, "I am proud of you for cleaning the kitchen before you go to bed." Yes, she really did. *sigh*

Looks like I will start a temp job very soon. I want to get back to work - I need to make money and I need to fill my days - but part of me is sorry this "empty" time is coming to an end.

I love to read but I also love books themselves.

I found a little article in Midwest Living about cake balls. I am inspired to try new flavor combinations!

What's in your head today?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Meet my bestie

This is my BFF, the fabulous Mary Alice:

She just started her own blog. She has decided to chronicle her weight loss journey as a way to stay focused and strong.

I'd love it if you would drop by her blog and leave a comment. I know how wonderful your encouraging comments are - and I know she would be tickled by them, too.

If you never hear from me again it's because Mary Alice murdered me for posting this picture. It was worth it - I have no remorse.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goodbye, old friends

Today I say a sad, fond goodbye to Carly, Jack, Lisa, Tom, Margo, Lucinda, Lily, Holden, Luke, Noah, Katie, Henry, Nancy, Kim, Bob and so many others.

Today marks the end of As the World Turns, one of the longest-running soap operas in television history.

I am a third generation ATWT fan. My Grammie and my mom watched ATWT from the first episode, when Nancy Hughes said "Good morning, dear" to her beloved husband, Chris. Mom was ironing and watching the show in 1963 when it was interrupted for Walter Cronkite's announcement to the world that President John F. Kennedy had been shot. As the World Turns is part of my memory as far back as I can remember. I remember how exciting it was when ATWT expanded from 30 minutes to an hour. Mom and I used to talk about the show's characters as if they were real friends or family members.

There were so many storylines that captured me: Tom and Margo's battle of the mind against Mr. Big...James Stenbeck's seemingly infinite rebirths (rock solid soap opera rule: if there is no body, there is no death)...Marcy's marriage to a prince...Lily and Holden's roller coaster romance from teenage first love to happily married couple to divorced parents and everything in between...Lisa and Kim's many marriages and their own catfights...Lucinda's boardroom machinations...Craig's repeated choices to do the wrong things for the right reasons...Steve and Betsy's star-crossed romance...John and Bob's heroic efforts to cure any and all ailments that befell a resident of Oakdale, Illinois...Barbara's shift from beleagured victim to vengeful shrew to wise mother.

(Growing up in central Illinois as I did, it always amused me when the show referred to its location. There is a real Oakdale, Illinois - a tiny little town deep in southern Illinois, much closer to St. Louis than Chicago. The fictitious Oakdale is only an hour or so from downtown Chicago, boasts a world-class hospital, an international airport, and a thriving corporate environment.)

My favorite couple has always been Carly and Jack. I don't know why but I identified with Carly from the very beginning, even though she was a bad girl who loved to scheme (so not me). She loved Jack from the moment she saw him and Jack loved her just as deeply. He was her G-Man and her True North even though their natures were often at odds and repeatedly tore them apart. Recently, their story has paralleled my own life in a strange way.

I rarely watched any other soap (I did flirt with General Hospital in 1983 - I had to find out why all the other girls were swooning over Luke and Laura), but I didn't need another one. As the World Turns was over the top and fantastic, sure, but it always seemed to keep one foot on the ground so that everything that happened seemed *almost* possible.

One of my favorite things about ATWT was that the story never ended - there was always more, always something new, always another adventure, romance, intrigue, or disaster around the corner. I never had to close the book or click the remote, sigh, and wish I had more time with the characters I had come to love.

Today, the story ends...and I will sigh, and cry a little, but As the World Turns will never stop turning in my heart.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bright spots

1. the view from my balcony at dusk this evening

The temp agency woman who interviewed me today said I have an engaging personality. I am probably inordinately pleased by that. Hey, I'll take what I can get! (Now, put me and my personality to work!)

A BIG storm blew through Monday evening. I was standing on my balcony, watching the clouds roll in. A neighbor - who I had not met or even seen before - parked her car and walked toward the building. She called up to me, "Looks like a wild night." I replied, "Sure does!" She said, "I'm in 113 - come on down if it gets bad and you would feel safer on the first floor." How nice is that?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New life in suspension

  • I moved 35 days ago.

  • Mary Alice left 31 days ago.

  • In the time since, with the exception of two lovely visits from Himself (ah, what a complicated situation that is!) I have not seen anyone I know. That’s an odd thing to consider, isn’t it? When was the last time you went for any length of time without setting eyes on someone who cares about you?

  • For the most part, I have been contentedly alone and not lonely.

  • I watch too much tv, which is a real feat considering it is summer and the cable listings are a collection of 17,000 channels full of nothing.

  • I am madly in love with Weeds.

  • I have applied for at least one job a day.

  • I have gone on three interviews and turned down one. ($10.50 an hour for a position with supervisory responsibility?? You gotta be kidding me.)

  • Organization #1 did not select me. Most likely because I am WAY overqualified for the job but it still irks me to see the big “come work for us!” sign on the side of their building.

  • Organization #2 closed the search “due to unforeseen circumstances.” I tried really hard not to, but I wanted that job. I would have been great at it.

  • I hope to hear from Organization #3 soon. I just interviewed with them yesterday. It is temp work but that’s cool for now.

  • My interest in quilting is coming back. It's about time.

  • I have not had pizza. (Tombstone doesn’t count.) (Tombstone hasn't been the same since Kraft bought the company, but that's a rant for another day.)

  • I have not had Chinese food. (Frozen P.F. Chang’s doesn’t count. It’s pretty tasty, by the way.)

  • I just had Mexican yesterday for the first time since the move. (Fish tacos from D’Leon’s, which were yummy.)

  • I have eaten more eggs in the last month than probably in the last year. I am having a crazy love affair with eggs over-easy.

  • Good thing my cholesterol is quite low.

  • I couldn’t have chosen a location farther from everything in Lincoln. Everything I want and/or need is on the other side of town.

  • A thousand blessings on the person who invented Mapquest.

  • Good thing I enjoy driving.

  • I need to work because I am running out of money.

  • I also need to work because I am (very slowly) running out of contented aloneness.

  • Neither of those things is causing any real anxiety. I have no idea why.

  • My apartment faces west and that makes me very happy. I like watching the weather come.

  • And if someone can make the guy upstairs stop stomping around every. damn. night. between 10 p.m. and midnight, I will make cake balls for you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I think I have mentioned that I LOVE recycling. It makes me feel all virtuous, I know I am doing a little bit for the earth and future generations, and I get a ginormous small thrill kick out of greatly reducing the amount of garbage I send to the landfill.

When I lived in Illinois, recycling was easy. The city gave me a huge (bigger than the allowed garbage can size) bin on wheels. I parked it in the garage just outside the kitchen door, where it was convenient to chuck all my recyclables, unsorted, into it. At the end of the week, I just rolled that behemoth to the end of the driveway. Easy-peasy. Loved it.

Recycling is not so simple here in Lincoln. I live in an apartment complex, so curb-side recycling is out. The complex doesn't pay for recycling pick up, so there are no recycling bins of any kind. The city does have a recycling program and there are many drop-off sites. They don't make it easy even then - everything has to be separated: cardboard from newspaper from "miscellaneous household paper", glass from plastic from aluminum. Perhaps I was spoiled in Illinois but this degree of separation seems likely to discourage people from recycling. "I not only have to cart my recycling away from my house myself, I have to divide it into 17,000 different categories?"

Being inclined to laziness, I initially resigned myself to not recycling. I couldn't imagine lugging those hard, blue containers out to my car each week, not to mention trying to find a place to keep them in the apartment. But the volume of my garbage is so much more than it was when I was recycling - in Illinois, I usually had one bag of garbage each week and often that bag wasn't completely full; here, I have been taking a stuffed-full bag of garbage to the dumpster about twice a week. Not cool. And it causes me severe mental pain each time I put a cereal box or soda bottle in the garbage can.

So. I am going to give remote recycling a go. When I get a job and feel comfortable spending money on things that are not absolutely essential, I am going to buy a set (or two, considering the sorting) of these:Aren't they cute? I think they will be very convenient to lug down the stairs, stow in the trunk, and tip into the bins at the drop-off site (which is, luckily, just a couple of blocks away). In the meantime, I will use my reusable grocery bags. I'm feeling better already. I am doing something small to make the world a better place...and also selfishly satisfying myself.

Green is good.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Since I don't have any original thoughts these days...

This is what I know: When you don't work for a living, every day is Saturday.

This is what I think: I think I am actually looking forward to rejoining the workforce. Then again, lollygagging at the pool whenever I feel like it is pretty nice, too. So is grocery shopping in the middle of a Thursday.

This is what I’m wearing: Fuchsia "sleepshirt" from The Avenue. It's cute and comfy - perfect combo.

This is what could change my life: Nothing, please. I'm full up on change right now, thanks.

This is what I’m eating: I am going to make Rotel cheese dip and eat it with potato chips for dinner. And nobody can stop me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A new meme

Oh, memes, how I have missed you!

Hi, my name is: Violet, Auntie Pip, that mean lady upstairs who wouldn’t let us tap into her wireless network.

I've never been to: Barbados. I will get there someday.

I hate it when: people are selfish and self-serving to the degree that it significantly impacts other peoples’ lives.

The one person who can drive me nuts is: my mother. ‘Nuff said, n'est-ce pas?

When I'm nervous: I sigh and take lots of deep breaths in an attempt to calm the butterflies in my stomach. If I’m really nervous, my mouth goes dry and I get shaky all over.

The last song I listened to was: hmmm, I don’t know. I had the radio on in the car yesterday but I don’t remember what was playing. I can tell you that it was a station that plays the hits of the 80s, 90s, and today.

If I were to get married today my maid of honor/best man would: Mary Alice. Again.

My hair is: surprisingly pleasing to me. Except it won’t stay red.

When I was 5: my mom made a Stop Sucking Your Thumb Before Kindergarten calendar on a piece of poster board for me. It worked.

Last Christmas: I stayed with my sister and her family for 10 days. It was wonderful.

When I look down: I see cleavage.

The happiest recent event was: being invited to interview for a job the day after I submitted my application.

My current annoyance is: the elephant/monkey living upstairs. No sound for hours, then a thunder of scampering that is so heavy-footed that it rattles the glass in my balcony door.

I have a hard time understanding: manipulation, calculated behavior, and taking advantage of others.

There's this girl that I know: who is more happy than unhappy with her life right now.

The thing I want to buy is: a laptop with a docking station set up. And a flatscreen TV.

If you visited the place I'm from: you WILL become a Huskers fan. It’s inevitable. It may even be required by law.

Most recent thing I've bought myself: I bought some new clothes a few days ago, including a nightgown made of cotton and modal that is so soft and comfy I wish I could live in it.

Most recent thing someone else bought me was: Mary Alice bought me styrofoam as a housewarming gift. Isn't that sweet?

My middle name is: Ann. I have always wished it had an E.

Last night I was: Cleaning and cooking between Weeds episodes.

If I was an animal I'd be: A dog. They love and are loved – is there anything better?

Tomorrow I am: going to apply for more jobs.

Tonight I am: going to watch more episodes of Weeds. I just discovered it when I got cable here in my new home and I have watched 4-and-a-half seasons since then. Season 7 starts tonight so I need to get caught up!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hello from Nebraska!

Hi, it's me! I have finally dug myself out from under the mountain of boxes that have been my only focus for the last 2 weeks. All but three of them are empty and my new apartment is starting to look like my home. Doesn't smell like my home yet, though.

Here are a few observations on moving:
  • Moving sucks.

  • I might actually have been better off renting a god-forsaken, don't make me tell that story again UHaul rental truck and doing this move myself. It would have cost about the same and I have no doubt that I would have ended up with less damage to my belongings.

  • I have a lot of stuff.

  • And yet, I don't have a lot of stuff.

  • I DO. NOT. LIKE. misplacing things. It's inevitable in a move but I almost started crying this morning when I couldn't find the capris I wanted to wear.

  • The capris were in the dryer. Shuddup.

  • Nebraska is HOT. Yes, yes, I realize that in January I will be saying Nebraska is COLD...but today it's 97 degrees PLUS the head index. Dude, that's HOT!

  • I knew I would, but I really, really, really love having full access to a pool. Even a pool that isn't even remotely cool right now.

  • Filling out job applications online is annoying. How the hell am I supposed to remember what my salary was 5 years ago?

  • I adapt to the not working thing way too easily.

  • Mary Alice flew home on Monday. I miss her.

  • I am happy.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


1989 - Mahomet, IL, to Champaign, IL
1992 - Champaign, IL, to Urbana, IL
1994 - Urbana, IL, to Urbana, IL (yep, you read it correctly)
1994 - Urbana, IL, to De Soto, IL
1997 - De Soto, IL, to Streator, IL
1998 - Streator, IL, to Urbana, IL
2000 - Urbana, IL, to Bloomington, IL
2003 - Bloomington, IL, to Tolono, IL
2008 - Tolono, IL, to Urbana, IL
2010 - Urbana, IL, to Lincoln, NE

10 moves in 20 years.


Do we need any more proof that I am nuttier than a Baby Ruth bar?

Nope, didn't think so.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grace in Small Things #22

! Selling the lawn mower via Craigslist today.

! Buying new pots and pans...with the BBB gift card I received last week. So it's like they were free.

! The company of good friends while packing.

! Musical soundtracks

! Ice-cold diet Pepsi

! Central air-conditioning

The countdown has officially begun - one week from tonight, I will sleep in my new hometown!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mary Alice, Rock of Gibraltar

This Friday is my last day of employment. There was a small pizza party for me last week but I am told that I will be feted again with bagels on Friday morning. Because nothing says "party" like bagels and cream cheese. Oh, and I'm told there will be a gift.

For some reason, Jean Jean the Office Queen felt compelled to tell me that the donations for my gift have been generous. Surprisingly so in two cases, she said. So of course I tried to guess who. I did guess one of the people...which the Office Queen revealed to me by the flash of panic/surprise/recognition in her eyes. I told her she probably shouldn't take up poker.

Last night, Mary Alice was driving us to the Salvation Army Thrift Store for cheap blankets ($15 for 4 blankets - I figure I only need 12 more to have enough for the move *sigh*) and I was telling her about my conversation with the Office Queen. Chattering away, I turned to glance at her and gasped. Because

SHE KNEW SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From the cat-who-ate-the-canary look on her face, I knew instantly that Mary Alice was in on it.

Which meant that the Office Queen had been in contact with her.

Without my knowledge.

Unbeknownst to me. (Unbeknownst...a word that just doesn't get used enough.)

Behind my back.

Now, Mary Alice and the Office Queen have met a number of times but they are really just acquaintances. The realization that they were communicating without going through me blew my mind.

Once that information had settled enough that I could breathe again, I pushed. I probed. I interrogated. I weaseled. I wangled. I charmed. I pumped Mary Alice for information with everything I had.

Mary Alice was a rock. She admitted only that there has been communication with the OQ but wouldn't give anything more. Nothing. Not even a crumb.

Because she knows I love surprises. I have been twisting this around in my head all morning. What could it be? WHAT could it BE?? I will enjoy thinking about this until the moment the gift is put into my hands. And Mary Alice knows that makes it all the sweeter for me.

I love that girl.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quote of the day...week...month...year...ok, my life

"Life has to be a little nuts sometimes.
Otherwise it's just a bunch of Thursdays strung together."

-- Rumor Has It

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grace in Small Things #21

It's another one of those days when I have to fight to remember that my glass is more than half full. So, digging deep to find 5 things that bring me happiness:

a good hair day

a beautiful, hot, sunny summer day


my sister's dog, Mocha, who LOVES me - is there a sweeter balm for the soul than a dog's silent adoration?

my newest nickname, Auntie Pip, coined by my favorite (ok, only) nephew

Sunday, July 11, 2010

So, ok...

deep breath

I have been putting off writing about the latest development with Himself because I am still trying to come to terms with it.

In fact, I still can't bring myself to tell you exactly what happened. All I will say is that Himself made some choices that now make it impossible for us to be anything more than friends. He didn't do anything illegal or abusive but his actions have permanently changed our relationship.

It’s three weeks before my move to Lincoln and instead of just obsessing about how much packing I have to do and whether all the pieces of the moving puzzle will fall right into place when they are supposed to be there, and instead of happy dancing around in anticipation and excitement…I am either walking around in an emotionless fog or spontaneously breaking into tears at the drop of, well, nothing.

I am still moving to Lincoln. I have said all along that I had no idea if/how things would work out with Himself. I want to go to UNL and get my degree in event planning. Now I know that the other half of my dream is dead – I know how things (didn’t) work out with Himself. Now I will turn my focus completely to my education and professional goals.

Himself doesn't think anything needs to change between us, but I have set up clear boundaries with him: We can only be friends. Himself said he will respect my boundaries and I know he will. In the moments when I am completely honest with myself, I know that I can’t maintain a “just friends” relationship with him. I love him too much for that. I think I am waiting until I have the chance to say goodbye in person. I want that. I deserve that.

But I will say goodbye. When I am ready. And that will be MY time, not yours, not my sisters’, not Himself’s. MY time. And anybody who doesn’t agree with my timeline can piss off.

So, there it is. I believe Himself has always been honest with me and that he has made some seriously stupid choices…but maybe I am a na├»ve fool. I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t care. The situation is what it is and I am reacting to it in a way that is true to myself.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dear Coworkers

Dear Coworkers:

I like parts of all of you. But as a whole, singly and collectively, you irritate the living shit out of me to no end. Here are a few reasons why:

I do not care about the goings-on in your bowels/intestines. All I need to know is that you are not feeling well. Frankly, I don't even care about that unless you are not going to show up for work.

70 degrees is not an acceptable ambient temperature for office workers. It's July 1st - I should not have to wear a sweater to keep from shivering. I do not like being reduced to stealthy hops to the thermostat while you are in the ladies' room but that won't stop me from doing it.

I am weary of the New Age-y piano Musak you evidently need to make it through the day. It is like Chinese water torture to me - plink...plink...plink... Our office should be a democracy, not a dictatorship.

Yes, esteemed upper-middle-aged and senior citizen male professors, there are women who work here. Women whose positions are seen by many as subordinate to your own (even though the people who really get it know that secretaries rule the world). These women, however, are not your wives or mothers. They were not hired to make your coffee or to wash out your cups after you have consumed said coffee. Wash your own damn cup! (And I will refrain from outing you, Dr. R, the one who wipes his powdered-sugar covered fingers on the couch each Wednesday during Donut Hour. Apparently your actual mother never taught you that the world is not one big napkin.)

You may have noticed that we are in an economic slump. The current and looming effects of the slump are often manifested as a look of panic in the eyes of our erstwhile fearless leaders. We have all been asked to do whatever we can to reduce costs. So I ask you, why do you feel the need to turn on EVERY SINGLE LIGHT in the building? The conference room has not been used since last week but you diligently turn on all of the lights each morning. I am curious - is your own home visible from outer space?

It's true, I will be resigning my position in a few weeks. This grumpy missive notwithstanding, I have not yet succumbed to the dreaded short-timer's disease. I ask that you cease and desist attributing my don't give a shit professional demeanor to a sudden lack of concern for my job or the work we do here. My attitude is not any different today than it was 4 years ago. I didn't give a shit then, either have always comported myself professionally and will continue to do so until the last minute hour day week pay period minute I work here.

Ever so sincerely,


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Play Ball!

This weekend marks the opening of the 2010 College World Series. I am not a baseball fan but Himself loves the CWS and I've gotten sucked in. At first, I thought I would just pay enough attention to know what he was talking about but, two years ago when we were getting to know each other, I found myself actually watching the games and picking favorites. Same thing last year and again this year. There's something about college sports that is so much more interesting to me than professional - college sports have heart and pageantry and a desire to win for winning's sake. When I visited Omaha in April, I made sure that Himself drove me to Rosenblatt Stadium so I could see it for myself.

This is the last year the CWS will be held at Rosenblatt. Omaha is building a fabulous new stadium and I plan to attend CWS games as a Nebraskan in years to come, but I am sad that I missed the chance to take in a game at Rosenblatt.

Coincidentally, life threw me another curve ball last week. It has to do with Himself and it has changed the landscape of our relationship forever. It's so big that I haven't wrapped my head around it and I can't bring myself to tell you about it yet.

I am still moving to Lincoln and I am still talking to Himself but a dream has been destroyed and things will never be the same.

In other news:

I gave my notice at the grocery store. My last day will be next Friday. I have to work at my full-time job on Saturday, so let this be notice to the world that on Sunday, June 28, I plan to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. If I hadn't stayed home sick ** on Tuesday and Wednesday, I would have worked 34 days in a row at one or both jobs, including the 90-hour week in Chicago. Oy. It's official - I am not a workaholic.

On Friday, my boss practically begged me to stay. He offered several things but no guarantee of money ("we'll try..."). It was great to hear the complimentary things he said about me and my work but it really only reaffirmed my conviction to move to Lincoln. Even the new state of affairs with Himself has not lessened Nebraska's pull.

** I called in "sick" on Tuesday, planning to take an unscheduled mental health day. By the end of the day, my throat was scratchy and I felt lousy. I called in on Wednesday, feeling genuinely puny. When Himself called that afternoon, he teased that that's what I get for playing hooky. I guess that'll teach me! (Or not...)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Walking on Air, Sorta

Hi, honey, I'm home!

I managed a week-long event in Chicago last week. The participants were 20 college junior and senior young women. I can now add "cowboy" to my resume because last week I learned to herd.

While in Chicago, we visited the Sears Willis Tower Skydeck. I stepped out onto The Ledge, which was SO COOL!

That's the side of Sears Willis Tower under my left foot, Wacker Drive under my right foot, and the Chicago River to the right of that.

After working about 140 hours in the last two weeks, I took a mental health day today. I'm telling you, it really is good for the soul to check out every now and then. But, um, I'm not so sure one day was enough!

I've been up to 1,353 feet - what have you been up to?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Lemme see you just bounce it with me

Because I channel-surfed onto Men in Black while folding towels and it made me smile...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

One of those days

Things here are fine.
Things are good.
There is nothing wrong today.

And yet, it's one of those days when I am blue. I am chalking it up to the confluence of two situations:

1 - I am tired and overwhelmed. Working 60-70 hours a week between the two jobs these days, waiting to hear if my apartment rental application has been approved, preparing for the biggest event of my work year, worrying about money for and after the big move, starting to think about packing, considering a garage sale (yuck), and wondering how I will get everything done in the next 4 days that needs to be done before I can leave town for 9 days to manage the big event.

2 - This weekend marks the second anniversary of my first face-to-face meeting with Himself. I know life never turns out quite the way we want or expect, and I accept where we are now. Even more importantly, I have let go of any expectations for our future - I put on my water wings and now I am simply floating and waiting to see where the tide takes us. But still, I can't help but think about where we were two years ago and how I felt. That weekend was one of the happiest moments of my life.

I am trying to shake off the blues, to see the silver lining. Two years ago I hoped that I would be moving to Nebraska to pursue a relationship with Himself. Well, I am - it's just happening a year later than I hoped. Our relationship isn't as committed as I hoped it would be but I think it's unrealistic to think it could be anything more than it is after two years of being so far apart. I am optimistically curious to see how it changes when we are much closer geographically.

Sure, the work hours are exhausting and the second job takes a huge bite out of my free time, but there are a lot of people who don't even have one job...and I wouldn't be able to make the move to Lincoln without both jobs.

Why can't I just be happy with today? It's a gorgeous, warm/hot, sunny day - my favorite kind...but all I want to do is curl up in a dark spot and cry.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Fill-in #178

1. Potato chip chicken -- the best food to take on a picnic.
2. Summer ROCKS!!!
3. My toes are too delicate to wear flip flops.
4. To love someone is the best thing ever.
5. I would love to get to the point where I am fit enough to enjoy a long hike.
6. When I crave food, it's usually high calorie and high carb.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to buying a new pair of shoes - whee!, tomorrow my plans include cleaning and working - not so much whee, and Sunday, I want to nap between church and my shift at the grocery store.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Grace in Small Things #20 - The Food Photo Edition





6. (hold the strawberries, thankyouverymuch)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Fill-In #176

1. I just had a dream that I was kissing Mozart.

2. God is.

3. The third sentence on the 7th page of the book I'm reading: "There is not a foot of space between the chairs of the guests, and Tamoszius is so short that he pokes them with his bow whenever he reaches over for the low notes; but still he presses in, and insists relentlessly that his companions must follow." (The Jungle by Upton Sinclair - I would have hated this book 20 years ago but I am completely enthralled now.)

4. As the World Turns tickles my fancy.

5. I was walking 30 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week...until I started the part-time job that leaves me with no time or energy for exercise.

6. Eddie Izzard makes me laugh!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to working at the grocery store (although 'looking forward to' doesn't really describe my feelings), tomorrow my plans include coloring my hair (a new color - pray for me!) and working at the store, and Sunday, I want to skip church and sleep in because I am scheduled to work 7 hours in hell at the grocery store!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Deep sigh

So I was chatting on the phone with my parents. I was telling them that Himself passed the final licensing exam in his profession. (YAY!!) Unfortunately, he procrastinated this exam to the point that now he is anxiously waiting to see if the paperwork gets processed with the proper entities by June 30. If it is not processed by then, he will have to reapply for approval to serve the bulk of his current clientele. It's not a huge deal but would be a hassle for him.

I told my parents that Himself acknowledges that if he loses approval, he only has himself to blame. My mother said,

Well, you can certainly appreciate that. Who knows how many degrees you would have by now if you hadn't screwed up when you were 18 and going to college on our dime?

Did I mention this phone call was on Mother's Day?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Letting the cat out of the bag

“Leap and the net will appear.” Zen saying

It’s time. Time to tell everyone what I have been whispering and dreaming and praying about for the last six months. It’s time to move from thinking to doing. It’s time to tuck all of my preparations, calculations, and careful assessments safely into my pocket and take the leap.

The leap will take me to Lincoln, Nebraska. I am planning to move to Lincoln in August to pursue two dreams: 1, a real, in-person relationship with Himself; and 2, to enroll in college full-time to complete a bachelor’s degree in event planning. These two goals are pretty much equal in my mind. I want the education just as much as I want the relationship. Both will take time, energy, care, and patience. Both are well worth whatever I put into them.

Himself lives in Omaha and after two years of loving each other but struggling against the enormous obstacle of the physical distance between us, we want to see what happens when we are close enough to be an immediate part of each other’s lives. Over the last few months, we have talked a lot about our expectations, hopes, and fears about this change. I have no idea how this will play out. I know that from here – 500 miles away – I love him more than I thought I could love. Time and proximity will tell if that love can endure. I hope that our relationship will progress and deepen and grow into a devoted, loving, lifelong marriage but I have gained the patience to wait and see how it all unfolds.

After 27 years and 3 failed attempts, I am finally ready for college. I am eager to join the undergrads lugging backpacks across campus. I plan to work for a year to establish residency then enroll at the University of Nebraska as a Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management major with a concentration in event management. My plan relies on getting accepted to UNL and that is a complete unknown at this point. But that’s ok – I have complete faith that the net will appear when I need it. I just have to be brave enough to leap.

I took a small leap with last week’s trip to Omaha. I met with people at UNL. I looked at apartments. I spent time with Himself on his turf. (Which was so great, by the way. It’s just so easy to be with him, sweet and fun no matter what we are doing. Oh, how I miss him!)

I took a little larger leap this morning when I told my boss about my plans. He wasn’t surprised. And I wasn’t surprised that he wasn’t surprised. Three months may seem like a lot of notice but he is working on the budget scenario for the next fiscal year and my departure could have fairly significant ramifications on the operations of my department. Given the current economic climate here in Illinois, and specifically at the University of Illinois, it is entirely possible that they may not be allowed to replace me. I wanted to let him know as early as possible so he will have time to consider how best to move forward.

I just have to take a moment here. When I was talking with my boss this morning, he said that I will be sorely missed and my work is exemplary. Exemplary. Wow, just writing it gets me all verklempt. I try to do good work, to produce the best possible product – whether that product is a letter, a publication, or an event – but ‘exemplary’ is a word used for people who excel, who go above and beyond, who exceed expectations. I just do my job. I am flattered and humbled that he thinks so highly of me. (And yet obviously full enough of myself that I wanted to share it here.)

Since I started taking action to make my dreams reality, the pieces have started to easily fall into place. I got the part-time job at the grocery store in order to save money for this move. I identified a relatively easy source of money to keep me afloat until I find a decent job after I move. Things with Himself are great. My family and friends all support my decision. I found an apartment that is a great space and the right price. The feedback I got at UNL last week was encouraging. Most importantly, I feel contentment and peace about this decision. There is a bit of nervousness but no anxiety. My gut is telling me this is the right thing. My gut is never wrong.

This is a leap into the unknown. This is an opportunity to trust myself and God. This is a chance to reach for my own constellation of happiness, satisfaction, and accomplishment.

I am so excited and so ready to take this leap!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stay tuned

Oh, hi!

Thought I'd take a moment to make an appearance on my own blog. I have been slogging through a two-week workfest and haven't had the mental capacity to string enough sentences together to post anything. I can't decide if I am a trooper for working 60+ hours a week or a weenie for thinking that is a big deal. I know there are a lot of people who work a lot harder than I do. At any rate, I am not used to working this many hours or this hard and I am exhausted. It's almost over - I can see the light but the end of the tunnel is still a few days off.

Then I will be going on vacation.

To Omaha.

This trip is likely to change the course of my life.

And that's all I am going to say for now.

I'm such a tease.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sometimes threats do work

I have worked at one or both of my jobs every day for the last two weeks. Today is my first free day and I decided that there was only one productive thing I wanted to accomplish today: mow the lawn.

Hard to believe that the grass is tall enough to mow already, but it is. I didn't want to cut down the violets (because, y'know...violets) and it probably could have waited another week or so but come Tuesday I will start another two week stretch of work and I know I won't feel like mowing in those few moments I have to myself.

The thing is, I am a lazy, careless devil-may-care lawnmower owner. I never do the recommended winterizing of draining the gas, changing the oil and the spark plug, etc. I throw caution to the wind and know that starting the mower will probably be a major pain in the ass frustrating thing when spring rolls around.

And so it was. Much like last year, I pulled and tugged and adjusted and huffed and puffed but the mower wouldn't start. I googled "lawn mower maintenance" to see what I should have done and how to fix it now. That was depressing, let me tell you. All of the sites I checked told me that I was screwed needed to repair the damage I did by letting the mower sit all winter - that my gas was bad, that I needed a new spark plug and air filter, and that the carburetor was full of junk.

Well, I am a capable girl. I am mechanically-inclined but not stupid brave enough to dive into small engine repair with no experience. If I can't do it myself, that means I would have to pay someone else to do it and I do NOT want to spend money on something like that right now. I have goals, people, goals that cost money and that do not include mowing the lawn.

Something told me to check the spark plug. I took it out and it was wet so I dried it off with a paper towel and put it back in. More pulls on the starter cord thingy (yes, it's a technical term) but no action. So I took the spark plug out, wiped it off really well, wiped out the hole it screws into, and let the spark plug sit to dry for 15 minutes or so.

I have to admit that during this 15 minute break, I cried. Sat down on my sunny, warm patio and indulged in a soul-cleansing weep. I really try to make the best of my life but I am tired of being the only one responsible for everything. I want a partner, a husband, someone who loves me who will share the burden with me. It's funny, it's something fairly small like starting the lawn mower that always brings this out in me. I am perfectly able to take care of myself...but I want someone who wants to take care of me. But I digress...

I stood up, wiped my face, and walked to the mower. I screwed the spark plug back in place and popped the spark plug connector thingy (another technical term) on top. "This is it," I declared to the mower, God, and myself. "If this doesn't work, I quit!"

Pulled back the safety handle, grabbed the pull cord, and yanked. Hard. And the mower growled into life.

I laughed, shook my head and started to mow the yard, congratulating myself for thinking to dry off the spark plug. But I refuse to believe that's what did the trick.

Yep, sometimes threats do work.

Big smooches to those of you who told me how to do strikethroughs. I promise will try can't guarantee that I will not litter my posts with them from now on.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Stuff 1: I was reprimanded at the grocery store last night. Apparently I was two minutes late in returning from a break last Saturday. Two minutes. *blink*

Stuff 2: Some college football coach (I think) has switched teams and signed a 10-year contract that starts at $450,000 and increases by $25,000 each year. Does anyone anywhere really need that much money? What do you do with that much money?

Stuff 3: I suspect that McDonald's adds something sinister and addictive to their sweet tea. I can't quit it.

Stuff 4: There are plans afoot that involve the Change My Life plan and Himself. I will report more in May.

Stuff 5: Today I miss my sisters. I wish we were sitting together on a hot summer evening, laughing, drinking Mike's Hard Lemonade, and just enjoying each other's presence.

Stuff 6: I am taking tomorrow afternoon off from my real job and don't have to work at the grocery store all weekend. Except for some phone calls I need to make, I don't have any plans from noon tomorrow through Monday morning - what will I do with all that time? Maybe I'll clean. Stop laughing - it could happen!

Stuff 7: As much as I love sun and heat, today's gloomy, rainy, chilly weather is nice, too.

Stuff 8: I have been blogging for almost 18 months and I still don't know how to do a strikethrough or how to format bullets correctly. The bulletlessness I can live with but the strikethroughs tease me from other blogs.

Stuff 9: I love you people!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grace in Small Things #19

1. Sunshine!

2. The preschool-age little girl who gave me one penny to pay for her mom's groceries.

3. The boss is gone, the second boss is gone, one officemate is gone. Quiet.

4. Homemade coffeecake with a great, crunchy cinnamon-sugar topping.

5. Mary Alice is back from vacation!

6. Open, honest, respectful, loving conversation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's proud I am

What Shall I Say about the Irish?

The utterly impractical, never predictable,
Sometimes irascible, quite inexplicable
Strange blend of shyness, pride and conceit,
And stubborn refusal to bow in defeat.
He's spoiling and ready to argue and fight,
Yet the smile of a child fills his soul with delight.
His eyes are the quickest to well up with tears,
Yet his strength is the strongest to banish your fears.
His hate is as fierce as his devotion is grand,
And there is no middle ground on which he will stand.
He's wild and he's gentle, he's good and he's bad.
He's proud and he's humble, he's happy and sad.
He's in love with the ocean, the earth and the skies,
He's enamoured with beauty wherever it lies.
He's victor and victim, a star and a clod,
But mostly he's Irish—
in love with his God.

May those that love us, love us.
And those that don't love us
May God turn their hearts.
And if he doesn't turn their hearts
May He turn their ankles
So we'll know them by their limping.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Clean up on Aisle 7!

So I started my new, part-time second job this week. The amount of training required (by them) to prepare me to scan cans of soup, weigh bunches of bananas, and bag all those groceries is astounding. Mind-boggling.

Quite frankly, it's stupid.

Yes, I need to know the laws about selling alcohol...but do I really need to understand - as a cashier - how alcohol processes through the body? Really?? Of course I need to understand the dangers of hazardous materials and how to use them properly on the job...but do I seriously need to know the nine sections on an MSDS (that's a Material Safety Data Sheet, dontcha know), what is included in each section, and how all manufacturers must provide all of the information but there is no standardized form? (Can you tell that last part bothers the organized part of my brain?) Come on, seriously? Only half of the time I worked this week was spent actually serving customers. I'm all for informed employees but this seems a bit excessive to me.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of my new coworkers. Almost all women (never thought about it, before - how often do you see a man working as a cashier or in any visible job at a store?), they have all been welcoming and fun, supportive and helpful.

I have been unpleasantly, not-really-surprised by how uncomfortable it is to stand for 5 hours with only one 15 minute break. It's the standing-in-one-place thing that is the killer - I worked in the self-check area last night and I found myself carrying the hand baskets over to the stack by the front door just so I could walk a little. I am here to tell you that when you see a store clerk leaning on their counter/lane/register, they are not being lazy - they are in pain! I would not have been able to do this job before my knee surgeries. Wow, was I stiff by the time I left last night!

I haven't encountered any rude or unpleasant customers yet. I know it's just a matter of time. But I have mad charm skillz, so bring it on, crazy people!

I forgot to remove the security cap from a bottle of booze last night - I wonder what that guy did when he got home and couldn't imbibe?

The interactions with customers are fun. When I got home last night, I thought I didn't like being the self-check cashier but the more I think about it, the more I realize I really enjoyed myself last night. Instead of the (partially self-induced) stress of hurrying to scan and bag each order and complete each transaction, I was able to let the customers do that at their own pace and simply solve problems when they popped up. My favorite was when I blew into the coupon slot to push the coupon through the sensor. The preschooler in the cart looked at me with huge eyes and the parents/customers laughed when that fixed everything...magic! Now, if I can convince the management to give me a stool to sit on, things will be hunky dory...

I'm working 4 to 10 this evening. Should be interesting!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Grace in Small Things #18

1. The SUN has been SHINING all day!!!

2. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries with a sprinkling of sugar.

3. An unscheduled weekend ahead. Could be the last one for a while (foreshadowing of #5).

4. A final, necessary conversation with The Tall One that went exactly as I hoped it would. He had been texting or calling me about once a month since our last interaction last fall. Normally he just texted something like "I wish we could talk" or didn't leave a message if he called and I ignored all of his attempts at contact, hoping he would eventually give up. Last month, he left a voicemail saying he wanted to make amends. So I decided to call him last week. I am glad to report that he has been clean for six months. He was hopeful that my call meant I wanted to be friends again. I made it clear that I was only calling to give him the opportunity to say what he wanted to say. He was very disappointed but he apologized for his behavior, I accepted his apology, and we said goodbye. Himself isn't so sure that I have heard the last of The Tall One but I think I have.

5. A part-time second job! I just got the call that I'm hired as a cashier at a local grocery store! Step one of the Change My Life plan is underway!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Uncle Bob - Spread the Word

March 3 is End the R-Word Day.

My Uncle Bob was born with Down's Syndrome. He was the youngest of 6 kids. He thought my dad was the most wonderful man in the world. He was the one person who was ALWAYS happy to see me. He loved music and would listen to country music on his transistor radio for hours, beating time with a Tinker Toy stick on the bottom of an old tennis shoe. Uncle Bob called my middle sister "Queenie". No one knows why. His favorite song was "Happy Birthday" - he loved birthdays, whether they were his own or someone else's. He liked everyone he ever met; he never knew a stranger. People always liked him right back even though he was "weird". He loved professional wrestling and talked about those guys as if he knew them. He loved to sing and dance, and did both badly and with abandon. When he was older, he got a job stuffing frozen entrees into cardboard boxes. He loved it and was so proud to be making his own money.

Uncle Bob lived well into his 50s. When he was born, doctors told my grandparents that he wouldn't see 30. They also said that my grandparents should put him in an institution and forget about him. My grandparents refused - and improved the lives of at least their five other children, 18 grandchildren, and themselves. But I know it didn't end with us.

Uncle Bob had a profound influence on who I am. I am sure that I have no idea of the myriad ways that having him in my world - and being a beloved part of his - affects me to this day. I see him in the face of every disabled person I meet, no matter what their disability or their attitude. I know I have more compassion and understanding than I would have without Uncle Bob.

Thank you for being you, Uncle Bob. I love you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Manic Monday #200

Yes, I know it's Tuesday...well, almost Wednesday, truth be told. So sue me.

What's your least favorite word? These days, it's 'economy'.

Where do you go when you need really good advice? Mary Alice, the West Coast Angel, Himself, my sisters, and/or Jean Jean the Office Queen. Each has a unique perspective and each is invaluable to me. I love you, man!

If you could participate in any winter Olympic sport, what would it be? I was going to say women's singles figure skating but I think pairs would be more fun. Pretty, sparkly costumes, a trim, strong body, and getting spun into the air by a handsome, strong young man - sounds like a 10 to me! (Or an 86.09...I do not understand the current scoring system.) I also think any of the skiing events - with the huge exception of moguls - would be thrilling. I love to watch short track speed skating but it would be scary...and my thighs are already big enough, thankyouverymuch.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ah, love

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are some of my favorite romantic movie lines. Share one with someone you love.

Thornton: Well, some things a man doesn't get over so easy.
Mary Kate Danaher: Like what, supposin'?
Thornton: Like the sight of a girl coming through the fields with the sun on her hair... kneeling in church with a face like a saint...
- The Quiet Man

Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you.
- Dirty Dancing

I don't think you're an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother's pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever's in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences... But the thing is, um, what I'm trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much. Just as you are.
- Bridget Jones’s Diary

Oh, it's nobody's fault but my own! I was looking up... it was the nearest thing to heaven! You were there...
- An Affair to Remember

I love that you get cold when it's seventy degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend a day with you I can still smell your perfume on my clothes, and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.
- When Harry Met Sally

I would rather fight with you than make love to anyone else.
- The Wedding Date

We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet…I mean, what does any one life mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things…all of it, all the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.’
- Shall We Dance?

I love him and I don’t care what you think. I love him for the man he wants to be and I love him for the man he almost is.
- Jerry McGuire

Anna Scott: Can I stay for a while?
William: You can stay forever.
- Notting Hill

Friday, February 12, 2010

On the other hand...

I didn't sleep well and woke up with a headache that decided to stick around. On the other hand, one boss is sick today, the other one is taking a furlough day, so the office will be quiet.

Coworker #1 has already turned on her beloved new age piano "music" which is like Chinese water torture to me. On the other hand, I'd rather listen to the new age crap than Coworker #2's choice of "jazz lite."

It's overcast again, dreary and depressing. On the other hand, it's not icy or snowing.

I'm tired and grumpy and not at all motivated to work today. On the other hand, I have a job, it's Friday, and I have some fun plans this weekend.

What's on your other hand?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday's Child Is Full of Grace


Forty. Five.



It’s is my birthday. I was born at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9, 1965, in Abilene, Texas, the first child of an Air Force captain anesthetist and his homemaker wife.

How is it possible that I am 45? I don’t feel 45. I still feel 17 – hopeful, confused, simultaneously proud and embarrassed of myself, awkward and graceful by turns, and still trying to figure out what/who I want to be when I grow up.

I am, however, much wiser than that 17-year-old girl was. I have learned to trust the people who earn it and to let go of the people who abuse my trust. I have cried oceans of tears over events trivial and earth-shattering and I have learned that no matter how crushing a sorrow is, it will pass. I know what real love is and how, like the Grinch, my heart will always expand to make room for more. I recognize what is good for me and what I cannot seem to resist (chocolate chip cookies, I’m talking to you). I accept my body as it is even as I work to re-mold it into a healthier shape. I cherish the different loves in my life – my parents, my sisters, my nieces and nephew, Mary Alice, Himself (yes, still part of the landscape), West Coast Angel, my church family – and marvel at how each love feels different in the giving and receiving and how each adds precious texture and depth and joy to my life. I am constantly learning and re-learning that there are things I can change and things I must simply accept – and constantly striving to change boldly or accept gracefully.

I am grateful for all that I have.

I like who I am.


I am dissatisfied with my life. It doesn’t resemble the life I want in any way. The life I want includes happy marriage, raising children, and satisfying work in a profession/job that challenges me and provides an income that does more than barely pay the bills. The life I have is single and sometimes lonely, childless, and while my work is relatively enjoyable and challenging, it does not feed my soul and doesn’t allow me financial peace of mind. Without a bachelor’s degree, I am at a sort of dead end.

I don’t have any control over love/marriage or children – that’s God’s territory – but I can redirect my career. And so


I will:

1. Get a part-time job and save the money I earn. – I am working on this. I hope to start a second job this month.
2. Decide where I want to go back to college.
3. Quit my job and move to that place, hopefully by late summer.
4. Either start school in Fall 2010 or, if I need to establish residency in another state, get a full-time job and work for a year.
5. Go to school full-time, probably while working part-time, for the next 3-5 years.
6. Graduate and get a job as an event planner for a professional association or corporation.

I feel…well, I feel convicted. This plan feels good and true. I know it will be nerve-wracking and I know it will not be easy and I know it will take time, and I need to be patient with that, but it feels RIGHT. I am gathering information, making lists and plans, checking in with my trusted confidantes to make sure I am doing everything with the right motivation.

Today, the day I start a new year, I also start a new life. I don’t know where this new life will take me but, as I heard recently, I “don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step.” I will take each step as it appears and hope that I will move ever boldly, ever gracefully forward.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow Plow Stories

I saw this outside Target this morning:

My theory is that the car's owner is an employee of one of the stores nearby. The owner angered the snow plow driver because:

a - she, a David's Bridal employee, jilted him in favor of the Radio Shack manager because he works more predictible hours. Not to mention earns a bigger paycheck, which probably means he will take her to Red Lobster instead of Steak n' Shake for their first date.

b - she, a Dots employee, turned him down when he asked her out, and not in a nice way. Those Dots girls can be a little rough. When she discovered her car buried in snow, she called her brothers. The snow plow driver won't explain the new limp and broken nose to his coworkers.

c - he, the Radio Shack manager, dissed the snow plow, calling it a Tonka truck when the snow plow driver came into the store to buy a universal television remote. He's been feeling a little too big for his britches ever since he was promoted and Miss David's Bridal finally accepted his dinner invitation. He drives a primer-painted 1988 Plymouth Sundance that he plans to get repainted now that he is manager. It will be expensive so he hopes Miss David's Bridal won't mind when he takes her to Steak n' Shake for their first date.

d - she, a coed from the local university, cut him off while she was texting and driving. Ironically, she was texting her friends to tell them to take the Oprah No Phone Zone pledge. She regretted her actions as soon as she emerged from Target, where she purchased a Valentine card that will prove to be a horrible mistake. She doesn't know yet that she will never wear the Dyeables shoes she ordered from David's Bridal that exactly match her dress for the sorority house Valentine formal.

What's your theory?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grace in Small Things #17 - The Winter Doldrums Edition

1. Sunshine! Well, almost sunshine.

2. Mike & Ike Lemonade Blends.

3. A Bed Buddy

4. Yak Trax

Patak's Tikka Masala sauce
6. There are only 52 days until spring.

(Please forgive my unruly images - they refuse to behave. Or please forgive me because I refuse to keep trying to force them to stay where I want them.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Illinois, Illinois

Illinois State Song

By thy rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois,
O'er thy prairies verdant growing, Illinois, Illinois,
Comes an echo on the breeze,
Rustling through the leafy trees,
and its mellow tones are these, Illinois, Illinois,
And its mellow tones are these, Illinois.

From a wilderness of prairies, Illinois, Illinois,
Straight thy way and never varies, Illinois, Illinois,
Till upon the inland sea,
Stands thy great commerical tree,
turning all the world to thee, Illinois, Illinois,
Turning all the world to thee, Illinois.

When you heard your country calling, Illinois, Illinois,
Where the shot and shell were falling, Illinois, Illinois,
When the Southern host withdrew,
Pitting Gray against the Blue,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois, Illinois,
There were none more brave than you, Illinois.

Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation's glory, Illinois, Illinois,
On the record of thy years,
Abraham Lincoln's name appears,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois, Illinois,
Grant and Logan, and our tears, Illinois.

written by C.H. Chamberlain, composed by Archibald Johnston
Yesterday, the local news was all about the mandatory furlough (unpaid time off) days imposed by my employer, the state’s largest public university.

Today, the news was all about the seven-year contract and multi-multi-multi-million dollar salary awarded to a professional baseball player.

The mental lava is still spewing from the volcanic explosion in my head so I am unable to verbalize my feelings about the juxtaposition of these two events…but I think you get it.

This morning, Mary Alice and I were discussing the distressing news that the health department in a neighboring county may be forced to close because the state has not paid the health department the funds due it this fiscal year. The state did, however, offer to LOAN the health department some money at 5% interest. (Flow, mental lava, flow.)

Mary Alice suggested that the Mafia may be running our state. I said, no, the Mafia would do a much better job of it.

The whole country is in fiscal crisis, true...but I'm told that Illinois ranks above only California in our level of dire-straightedness. Ain't we special.

"...and our tears, Illinois, Illinois."