Thursday, July 26, 2012

Random Kindness

I received an email from my mom yesterday saying how much she misses my Thankful Thursday posts.  Life has been so hectic...I seem to start typing a post, but never get around to finishing it!  I finally sat still long enough to finish one, so this one's for Roo!

Last night, Ben and I were walking the dog and chatting (actually I was venting about my crappy day at work).  After discussing the death of Sherman Hemsley from "The Jeffersons" and the fact that Sharon Osbourne is leaving "America's Got Talent", the topic shifted to how Christian Bale went to visit the Colorado shooting victims.

Ben commented that "it must be nice to have the time and money to go do something nice for others".  I realized, I felt the same way.  Random acts of kindness!  Granted, Christian Bale wasn't exactly walking down the street putting coins in parking meters that had expired, but he took time out of his life to reach out to others and he made a difference.  

You always hear stories about a mom at the grocery store struggling with her fussy baby or cranky toddler, and how the person in line next to her buys her groceries for her, or the young couple out to dinner who find out at the end of the meal that a kind older couple already paid for their dinner or the server who was given a huge tip for no reason.

Don't you just love random acts of kindness?  

That's what I'm thankful for this week.  Not only the people who reach out to others, but the fact that no matter how tight things get, no matter how frustrated we are, Ben and I are still inspired to do our part.  I just wish we could do more.

I look forward to the day when I can buy some poor woman a load of groceries, or leave a $100 tip for a server who could probably use it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Keep Asking

I haven't written about my dad for a while. 

Not because I haven't been thinking of he and my mom day and night, but because I don't always know what to say.

People are constantly asking about him - especially our friends from out of town. 

"How's Erin's dad doing?",  "How's JB?", "Is John doing ok?".  They ask as a courtesy, but I don't really think they want to hear anything but "he's doing ok" or "he's about the same". 

But...this isn't the case.  He isn't doing ok, and he's NOT about the same.

He's getting worse. 

Every day we're reminded of this inescapable disease that's slowly taking him away from us.  Some days the signs are more subtle than others, but they're there. 

The other day my dad was listening to a voice mail that some friends had left on his cell phone.  During the course of the 30 second message, my dad got confused, thought he was on the phone with live people, and began talking back to the voices on the recording.  My mom had to remind him that it was a message - that he needed to call back if he wanted to talk to his friends.

This broke my heart.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think we'd ever have to explain the difference between a voice mail and an actual person to my dad.  But, we did.

Now, this is just one example of the clues we're being given as to how he's doing. 

Stories like this seem to be the milestones that we count on as a gauge for how JB is doing.  This phone fiasco will be the example that we give our close friends and family in the coming days and weeks when they politely ask about him.  It will be our "see, this is what we're dealing with" until he stumbles over something new.  Then, somehow, being confused by the voice mail will seem like ancient history and our new standard for "normal" will be a new, embarrassing, entirely depressing story about how something that most of us take for granted completely threw my dad for a loop. 

But, despite not feeling like anyone truly understands what any of us is going actually does help to have people ask.  Even if they don't "get it".  Even if they can never really grasp what we're dealing with.  Even if all they want to hear is "he's doing fine".

The asking helps.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Planning a vacation is supposed to be fun...but somewhere along the way, it became stressful (at least for me).

While Ben and I have done a wee bit of light traveling - we had a few weekend getaways to Lake Tahoe, there was our honeymoon to the coast, a work trip to Hawaii, a week in Florida (where we stayed with my aunt and uncle), and visits to Ohio and Utah to see family - that's been about it.

We haven't had a true VACATION!

You know the kind...when you get off the plane and the air is warm and filled with the sound of steel drums welcoming you to paradise...when you take a shuttle to the hotel and are ushered into an open-air lobby for check in...where you have a choice of resort restaurants which offer wonderfully exotic foods that you'd never be able to find at home...where any time, day or night, you can get a drink at the beachfront bar...where you're surrounded by palm trees and blue skies and the sound of the ocean...where your biggest challenge is deciding whether to sit poolside or on a lounge at the beach looking out over clear blue water.

That's what I want! 

We're trying to plan a vacation with another couple sometime around May 2013.  Aside from knowing that we want to go somewhere warm and tropical, we're having a hard time narrowing things down.

Here's my wish list:

All-inclusive resort so that we don't spend the entire trip saying "I'd really like a drink, but not for $10" or "I'd like to have ------ for dinner, but it's so expensive."

A location that won't take us half of our time off getting to and from (I'm thinking the Caribbean is our best bet).

Nice, but not too fancy schmancy.  While I don't want to be surrounded by sweaty men in muscle t's at the breakfast buffet, I also don't want to feel like I need to dress up to have a burger by the beach!

Finally...something affordable.  Now, that doesn't mean cheap - when it comes to vacation spots, you get what you pay for, and I don't want to pay for a dirty room with bugs and toilets that don't flush.  I just want to be able to go on vacation without having to sell a kidney (probably one of Ben's) on the black market and still be able to pay our bills when we return!!!

I don't need a private butler, or a room that walks out onto the beach (as nice as that sounds), or a patio jacuzzi (though I wouldn't mind), or 5 star restaurants to eat in - I just want a nice clean room, a comfortable bed, air conditioning, a nice pool/beach, and some choices on where to eat (without getting food poisoning).

Does such a place exist?  Where will we ever find such a paradise???

At this point, I feel like I need to take a vacation from planning our vacation!!!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Over Memorial Day weekend, Ben and I headed to Virginia and North Carolina to meet up with some of my college friends and to visit our old stomping grounds. 

With the exception of one, it had been 3 or 4 years since I'd seen my friends!!!  Isn't it funny how fast time flies? 

Rather than go on and on (and on and on) with funny stories from the weekend (which I could totally do), I'll share my list of things that I learned this weekend...

1.  I have been blessed with wonderful friends - no matter how much times goes by, we can pick right up where we left off without skipping a beat

2.  It's strange to see women that I only knew from college as mothers - chasing their kids, juggling bottles and spoons and baby food, applying sunscreen, issuing time-outs...

3.  Elon University truly is a beautiful campus - and the pictures online just don't do it justice

4.  No matter how hard you wish for it, certain states will never be geographically closer together than they already are (so we decided to be happy that we're all in the same time zone)

5.  When it comes to coordinating multiple families, sometimes you have to just make it happen!

6.  No matter how much time has passed, with true friends, you revert right back to being a giggling sorority girl (which I'm sure is in no way overwhelming or annoying to those around you).

7.  I don't take nearly enough pictures

8.  There are just some people in the world who make you feel like the best, happiest, funniest version of yourself

9.  Cook Out milkshakes are the best (if you've never spent time down South, you just don't get it)

10.  If I met my college friends for the first time as we are now, I believe that we would still be friends!!!

Thanks for a great weekend, Heather (Eric, Paige, and Caleb), Tisha (Steve, Ethan, and Benjamin), Kristen (Matt and Nathan), and Michelle (and Jonathan)...and to my darling hubby Ben, who bravely ventured down memory lane with me!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Talking to Cars

Do you talk while driving?  Not to passengers in your car or to someone on the phone...but to other cars/drivers.

I've noticed over the past few weeks, that I have a tendency to talk to cars.  I don't know if I'm doing it more than I used to, if I'm more aware of it for some reason...or if there are just more idiot drivers on the road!!!

I'm sure that my fellow drivers wouldn't entirely appreciate my "creative criticism" on their driving skills if they could actually hear me - I'm very careful to only comment if my windows are up (yes, I'm just that passive aggressive).

Most often, my comments are just that...comments.

Simple things like "Easy there killer" or "Ummm...Hellooooo" if another vehicle begins to wander into my lane or suddenly slows down for no reason.  Half the time, I don't even address the driver...instead I speak directly to the car, as if it has some control over what it's doing: "I see you red you see me?"

Occasionally I'll find myself stuck behind "that guy" who insists on going 10 mph BELOW the posted speed limit in the left lane (and almost always there is a line of semi-trucks in the right lane).  This driver will generally get a friendly "Move your ass, you moron!" or an "Oh my God, are you kidding me?!?!" from my general direction.  

Then every so often some asshole "enthusiastic" driver will zip between cars traveling at high speeds without so much as a turn signal or a glance at his/her blind spot.  Other times, an overconfident (usually young) individual will be texting, applying make up, or changing a cd, and swerve into my lane.  In these cases, I am more than happy to let my fellow driver know how I feel about their little maneuver, by expressing myself with delightful suggestions like "Get your head out of your ass" or "Get off the f-ing road you dick".

(As a side note: since I got my new car, I take advantage of the built in Bluetooth/Speaker phone function every chance I get, so more often than not, the person that I'm talking to on the phone gets a front row seat for my "colorful display of distaste" with other drivers)

Oddly enough...I very rarely use my horn.  I'm not THAT person.

In any case,  I don't think this qualifies me for official road rage...instead, I'd say it's more of an intolerance for drivers who suck!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I've been traveling by plane since I was an infant.  At least a time or two each year, I find myself jet setting somewhere.

So, needless to say, I've accumulated my fair share of observations about flying. 

As my flight made it's final approach into Las Vegas this evening...I was considering the conclusions I've drawn over the years.


1.  There should totally be a "plus sized section" - 2 bigger seats instead of 3 teeny tiny ones...I would absolutely pay a little extra money for that kind of comfort.  Wait...isn't that First Class?

2.  I pack waaaay too much in my carry-on bag.  I don't know what I think I'm going to do with the few hours of flight, but I never end up touching half of the stuff I cram into my poor little bag.  Perhaps it's the lingering trauma that I experienced when I tried to fly home during a blizzard, was stuck on an airplane for about 6 hours, and was finally stranded in Chicago...but I certainly don't need 2 books, Sudoku puzzles, headphones, makeup, nail files, brush, see where I'm going with this.

3.  When the flight attendants tell you that they have chocolate chip cookies...they are lying.  The 100 calorie packs of "cookie crisps" do not count as actual cookies - they're toying with my emotions!!!

4.  People live in the middle of freaking nowhere!  Every time I look out the window from the airplane, I'm always baffled by the lone house that appears to be surrounded by a whole lot of nothing except a lone dirt road leading a hundred miles or so to the freeway!

5.  I totally profile.  I sit in the terminal before boarding, checking out my fellow passengers, making mental lists of who I don't want to be seated with.

6.  I will always be seated next to the person who believes that the armrest is THEIRS.

7.  I will always be seated behind the person who reclines their seat for the entire flight for no good reason.

8.  How many people actually read the safety card that they put in the seat pocket?  Even though I've been flying for 30 years, I'm pretty sure that I'm screwed if the shit hits the fan, because I have not taken the time to review proper exit procedures in the event of a water landing!

9.  Why do people seem genuinely surprised when their GIANT bag doesn't fit into the overhead compartment?  And on a similar note, why is the last guy on the plane always shocked that all of the overhead binds are full?

10.  The armrest next to the window should go up and down - that's easily another 2 inches for my ass!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Things Wives Say

Over the last week or so, I've become aware of a strange double standard in my little world.  I'm sure it's not just least I hope it's not...but I've realized that I speak to Ben much differently than he speaks to me. 

I caught myself several nights ago as I was saying something to him.  It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I was coming across as critical...or even...mean!

I'm sure none of us mean to be a just happens.

Granted, we do a lot of "lovey-dovey" back and forth - the kind of thing that would make our friends roll their eyes (or possibly vomit in their mouths).  But, when we're dealing with the day-to-day business of life, it's not all hugs and kisses, flowers and puppies, sunshine and rainbows.

So, I've been paying attention over the last few days to the things that I say. 

Holy crap! 

If Ben said half of the things to me that I say to him, I'd live in a constant state of tears and likely have trouble getting out of bed in the morning!

Silly things...things that aren't intended to be mean, but if the tables were turned, I'd certainly take them personally.  Why is it that we can speak to our husbands this way, but they can't (nor should they) speak to us the same way?!?

For example:

"Your pillow stinks!  How much do you sweat at night?" - as we prepared to go to bed.

"You're not going to wear that are you?  Can't you try a little harder than a hoodie?" - as we were getting ready to go out to dinner for his birthday dinner.

"Have you run out of air freshener in there?  Dear God, what did you eat?" - as he emerged from the bathroom.

"You don't need to eat that!  We're making smart food decisions!" - as Ben suggested that he have a few cookies after dinner.

It hit me - wives nag, wives are critical, and wives are bitches!  (I'm speaking in generalities here to keep from directly referring to myself as a critical, nagging, bitch)

Ben knows that I love him, and we certainly do our share of teasing back and forth, but if he ever suggested that I "try a little harder" with my outfit, I'm pretty sure I'd slam the bedroom door in his face and not come out for the rest of the night.

So, why does this happen?  Where did this double standard come from???  When did we learn to speak to our dear darling husbands like this???  And why, for the love of all things holy, do they let us???

Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, I'm now most certainly aware of it. 

While I can't guarantee that I'll be able to stop completely (after all, if I wasn't there to tell Ben that he stinks after working all day, how would he know???)...I'm going to try to be more aware of what I say and make sure that no matter what I say, Ben always knows that this bitch says it out of love!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Job Choices

Being a nanny was a tough job.

Nobody who chooses to be a nanny is in it for the money.  They're usually not in it for the benefits either (you're considered lucky if you get low end health insurance).  It's not a complaint, just a part of the business - over worked, under paid - thus is the typical life of a nanny.  People who are nannies not only love children, but love what they do!!!

Today at work, I was catching up with one of our nannies and the conversation came around to our choices in jobs.

She was telling me how her sister is working for a well known phone company.  She is making...well...more than I make, she's got insurance coverage that I couldn't begin to dream of, not to mention a list of perks that made me check my chin for drool!

But, she doesn't really care about what she's doing - it's just a job.  

While I was a little jealous at first, I thought about it a bit more and realized...I'm not that person.  I've never wanted "any old job".  I've known for a while that I want to like what I'm doing.  I want to care about what I'm doing.  I want my job to make a difference!

I realize that I'm not exactly curing cancer here, but still, if I'm spending 8 or 9 or 10 hours a day doing something, I'd better damn-well like it!

So, today I'm thankful for my job.  Yes there is stress, and yes I work long hours sometimes, but I truly love what I do, and you can't put a price on that!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sexy Skivvies...Fail

I'm not one for frills, lace, or girly things.  Especially when it comes to my underwear. 

Sensible, comfortable, cotton briefs are the way I usually go.  Sure, I've got a few pairs of "fun" undies, but I seldom remember to wear them, so they sit, collecting dust in my underwear drawer. 

A few weeks ago when I was shopping, I decided that it was finally time to replace some of my "well worn" undies.  Yes, I'm that girl who continues to wear panties that have lost their shape, their elastic, and even their ability to remain in position throughout the course of the day.  

I don't know if it was my mood, or just a whim, or maybe I caught a glimpse of myself in the fitting room mirror and realized how sad my "grannie panties" looked.  Whatever the reason, I decided that I'd splurge and buy some lace panties - they looked pretty, they were on sale, so I figured, why not! 

They weren't for Ben - he probably wouldn't notice if I was wearing a g-string.  They were for me, to make me feel pretty, to make me feel like I'd tried a little harder than "which pair of undies is least likely to crawl up my ass today"!

Lesson learned.  Lace panties are not for me.

It's been less than a month and I've learned the hard way that lace undies were not meant for me.  Maybe I'm too rough, or maybe they're just fragile by design, but I've managed to poke my fingers through them so many times that my once beautiful skivvies now look like black lace Swiss cheese!

So, last weekend, I went to Target and bought myself a set of nice, sensible, cotton briefs to replace my holey lace ones with.

I'm sure there are women out there who can manage to maneuver into lace panties without punching their thumb through the sides, or who can take them off without hearing that horrible tearing noise that only lace makes, but I'm not one of them. 

Again, lesson learned.  From now on, I'll stick with comfort, not style!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Grown Up

Several years ago, I went through that time in life when it seemed that everyone was getting married.  Summers were busy traveling to friends' home towns to join in the merriment, and carefully saved money was spent on flights, hotels, shower gifts and bachelorette parties.

Now, we're in that new stage of life when everyone is having babies.  While we're moving past the giving of wedding gifts, the time for giving baby gifts has taken its place.  I can't walk through Target without stopping in the baby section to browse the newborn stuff and if I happen across something adorable, pause and think "now who do I know who has a baby that this would fit?"

Last summer, one of my oldest friends announced that she and her husband were pregnant!  She's certainly not the first (nor the last) friend of mine to have a baby, but she was the first one to go through pregnancy while living in close proximity to me!

Over the past several months, I've watched as her belly grew, listened as she shared the woes of pregnancy, and tried to wrap my brain around the fact that she was going to be a mommy!!!

Finally, on Sunday, her little one made his big debut!!!

Ben and I ventured to the hospital on Monday to see our dear friends and to meet their little bundle.

As we sat in the tiny hospital room with them and I held their baby in my arms, studying his precious face, his slender legs, and his baby toes, it suddenly hit me - we're grown up!  

I remember when we'd have sleepovers, talk about boys, chat for hours on the phone, and flip through the pages in our yearbooks deciding who our future husbands would be.

Now, suddenly, there I was, with someone that I've known for almost 20 years, holding her baby!

It got me thinking - I wonder if I'll ever truly be able to think of my childhood friends as adults.  When you've known someone since elementary school, do you ever stop picturing them as your friend in the hallway, passing notes and gossiping about what had just happened in class?

Is it possible to really ever think of them as a grown up, and not just someone playing house?

It's something I've struggled with over the last few years, as more and more of my friends have "grown up" before my very eyes.  I happily receive birth announcements, see pictures of their families on Facebook, watch as the kids grow like weeds, but I always seem to think of my friends as they were when we first met - perpetually 8, 10, 15, get the idea.

Perhaps I'm destined to be the old lady who sits around spouting off about "I remember when..." to anyone who will listen. 

In any case, it's a welcome challenge - I'm blessed to be in touch with so many friends from my youth and to be able to say to them "remember when..."

Me with Baby Jace!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Sprung

Today is March 14th and it was in the 70's. 

Hello Spring!!!!

This time a few years ago, I tried to fly from California to Ohio for a quick visit and ended up getting stranded in Chicago because of a blizzard that dropped 3 feet of snow on most of the state.

As we made our transition from California to Ohio this past summer, I was a little worried about adjusting to a brutal winter in NE Ohio. 

But, I embraced Ben buying a snow plow, and nervously monitored the weather forecasts each day to see if there was snow headed our way. 

While it wasn't the winter that we were hoping for (purely for plowing purposes), I dare say that it was a blessing. 

I did grow up in Cleveland, but after 4 years in California, I don't know that I could have faked happiness with sub-zero temperatures, treacherous road conditions, and months on end without a hint of sunshine.

Fortunately, I don't have to fake anything.  Spring has sprung! 

While I know it's possible that winter might make one final appearance, I'm not holding my breath. 

Instead, I'm enjoying the sunny days, the warm evenings, the joy of driving with my windows down, the extra hour of daylight. 

I'm excited (and thankful) for Spring!!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I had such plans for dinner tonight.  We were going to eat healthy, damn it!

Chicken stir-fry - lots of veggies, very little (if any) rice, and I was going to make it all myself (and by make it, I mean dump everything out of the frozen bag it came in and watch as it magically became dinner).

Ah, such is life - things don't always go to plan.

I had a haircut after work today, so rather than go to the grocery store near our apartment, I went to the one near the salon, which I am less familiar with. 

My quest began with the search for fresh chicken breast tenders - much easier to cut up and stir-fry.  They didn't have them - or at least if they did, I couldn't find them.  So, I grabbed the full chicken breasts and headed for the frozen vegetable section. 

It bears mentioning that I did walk through the produce area of the store when I first arrived.  But, seeing as I am officially missing the "cooking gene", I was only able to stare at the rows of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, lettuce, and carrots, wishing that I was the kind of person who could buy those things and magically create a meal with them.

So, off to the frozen vegetables I went.

Already frustrated at not being able to find the right kind of chicken, I was even more irritated to find that the limited selection of frozen veggies did not include the stir-fry mix that I'd gotten so used to.

Annoyed and nearing the end of my rope, I called Ben for moral support.  After a few minutes of "Honey, I don't know what to tell you, just get whatever sounds good to you", I was inspired to make one of my old favorites, so I abandoned the veggies (and my ambitions of healthy eating) and headed towards the pasta aisle.

Once again, fate had other plans for me.  The Pasta-Roni that I like to mix with cooked shrimp was not there.  Sure, they had other flavors, but I wanted my sun-dried tomato flavor!

Refusing to give up, I regrouped and decided that vodka sauce with regular pasta and shrimp would be just as good.  You can imagine my disappointment when I found that there was no vodka sauce.

Utterly frustrated (and near tears), I put the superfluous chicken back in the meat section and trudged to the self check out to pay for the few items that I'd collected during my tour of the store.

From the car, and officially in tears, I called Ben to inform him that not only was I coming home a half hour later than I thought I was, but I was also coming home empty handed.

In the 10 minutes that it took me to get back to our neck of the woods, I decided that I'd just suck it up and go into our grocery store to get the damn stir-fry and make dinner!

Long story short (too late)...I managed to find the stir-fry mix, but in my haste to get the hell out of grocery store #2, I forgot to get more chicken (since I didn't end up buying it at the first store).

That pretty much sent me over the edge.  The damn chicken!

So, now that I'm done moping, I can tell you what I'm thankful for. 

I'm thankful for take-out.  On days that I simply can't put together a meal to save my life, I'm glad that there is a drawer full of take-out menus and coupons, I'm glad that there's a Chinese restaurant less than 5 minutes from our apartment, and I'm especially thankful for Ben, who was nice enough to go and get it for me!

Monday, March 5, 2012

An Expiration Date

Confession #1:  I'm afraid to throw out pictures.  Not necessarily pictures that I've taken (though I tend to keep those forever, for fear that as soon as I throw one out I'll think to myself "Don't I have a picture of that somewhere?"), but pictures that people send me - Christmas cards, pictures of their kids, birth announcements, etc.

Confession #2:  It's March and I'm still displaying all the Christmas cards that we received in December.  That's right...the Christmas cards that we received almost 3 months ago are still taped on our wall.  Ben has been asking for a few weeks if it's "about time to take them down". 

I promise that I'm not in denial about the fact that our Christmas card which included a picture of us at Lake Tahoe has long since been tossed aside by our dear friends (because they're normal).  I just feel bad throwing out pictures.  Maybe next year my friends can make it easier on me and just put a little "Please discard after January 1st" message on the backs of the pictures.

Should I save them?  Should I keep a file of Christmas card pictures?  Every year, should I add to it so that at some point we can look back at how our friends children have grown over the years?  Or, should I rip them down with abandon and not give them a second thought? 

I'm torn.  Part of me wants to have my wall back, but another part of me feels like it's disrespectful!

Don't even get me started on our refrigerator.  In addition to Jack's first pre-school picture (which is 3 years old), we're also sporting 2 years worth of Halloween pictures of our friends' kids, as well as the birth announcement of a friend's baby who is now almost a year old!

Confession #3:  I also have our extra Christmas cards from the last 3 years.  Why?  I have no idea.  I know that I'll never use them (especially because they say 2009, 2010, and 2011 on them).  But, they're pictures of me and Ben - I hate to throw them out...somehow it seems wasteful.

I think we've established that I'm insane (shocker).  Now I just need some input...what is the statue of limitations on keeping pictures and cards (yes, I also save greeting cards). 

Confession #4:  I feel bad throwing away greeting cards.  It's easier than throwing out pictures, but I still hit a mental block when it comes time to get rid of cards that someone sent me.  Let me put this into perspective.  While we were packing up our kitchen before our move last summer, I spent 10 minutes going through all the cards that we'd received in the time we'd lived in our house (which was over 2 years).  Birthday cards, anniversary cards, "just because" cards, Valentine's Day cards...we had a little pile of them in our kitchen. 

What is the expiration date on pictures?  Help!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Date Night

Life is so hectic! 

I seem to blink and suddenly another week has come and gone.  Between work, errands, time with family, and the daily crap that seems to fill in the cracks, Ben and I have spent less and less time together over the last few weeks.

So, tonight, we had a much needed date night.

Time to sit and engage.  Time to talk about our days.  Time to discuss what we've been doing at work.  Time to hold hands, look into each other's eyes, and really connect.

Tonight I'm thankful for having the opportunity to go to dinner with Ben.  I'm also thankful for the gift cards that we received for Christmas that made our dinner out possible!

Monday, February 20, 2012

2 Years

2 years ago today, Ben went and rescued our Mia from the pound and drove with her to the airport to pick me up as I returned from a visit to Ohio. 

She wasn't a surprise - in fact, I'm the one who found her the weekend prior when we happened to stop in to Petsmart during an adoption fair. 

We had Jack and Molly with us and decided to go in to see the fish (their favorites).  When we realized that there were dogs in the back, we took a stroll to "just look". 

And there was Miss Woof, lying down quietly in her cage, looking a little bit sad.  Noticing my interest in her, the nice man got a leash and brought her out so that Molly and I could say hi.  As Molly began poking and prodding and pulling her ears, Mia's reaction was not to recoil, or to growl...instead, she went belly up for a tummy scratch.

I said to myself right then and there "this is a great dog".

Well, long story short - she was ours within a week.

2 years later, we can't remember what life was like before we had her.  Sure, we get irritated when she pokes us with her cold wet nose in the mornings, and we are annoyed when she barks at phantom noises that nobody else can hear, but she really is our baby.

We love her more than anything - she completes our little family.

Happy Anniversary, Mia!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

 Valentine's Day is a challenge.  People either throw themselves into it - flowers, candy, cards, gifts, romantic dinners...or they don't.  Very rarely is there an in-between. 

Today, instead of getting myself caught up in the chaos that surrounds Valentine's Day, I'm not thinking about me.  I'm not thinking about whether I got flowers, or gifts, or a romantic dinner out.

Today, I'm thinking about my parents.

My dad has never been good at big holidays.  Even long before the Alzheimer's, he didn't "get it".  I'd call to remind him of mom's birthday, or their anniversary, and often helped him with Christmas shopping. 

This year, he approached me about doing something for my mom - I kind of blew him off, because he asked me on February 1st. 

One of JB's new favorite things to do is to go to the grocery store with my mom.  But, instead of walking the store with her, he prefers to sit in the cafe area, drink a cup of coffee, and people watch.  

Last Friday, I got a call from my dad while he was sitting in the grocery store cafe having a cup of coffee.

After our usual small talk, he asked if I'd help him with Valentine's Day.  He told me that he wanted to get a card and a dozen yellow roses (her favorite) for mom. 

Now, one might be inclined to think "Gee, he's at the store right now.  Why doesn't he just walk over to the floral department, buy a card and flowers, and be done?". 

Well, Alzheimer's doesn't work that way. 

So, I told him that we'd take care of it that weekend - little did I know that there would be a pretty substantial snow storm and that we'd be snowed in.

Long story short, the weekend got away from me. 

Last night, on my way home (at 9:00 at night), I realized that I still hadn't gotten anything for my dad to give to my mom.  So, dutiful daughter that I am, I stopped at the store, bought a card and flowers, and drove straight to my parents' house. 

Any frustration I'd had with my dad not thinking to get a card on his own, or irritation at the fact that I hadn't been home since 8:30 that morning, quickly disappeared when I saw how proud my dad was to be able to present my mom with a card and her favorite flowers.

Granted, he didn't do it on his own, but he DID remember that it was Valentine's Day, and he DID think that it would be nice to get something for my mom. 

I know Valentine's Day isn't about getting flowers, or cards, or going out to dinner - it's about remembering.  Remembering to set aside time to tell your special someone that they're special.  Remembering that sometimes we forget to put them up on the pedestal that they belong on.  Remembering to say "thank you for loving me".

This year...Dad remembered!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Things I'm Not

The other day, my boss was telling me about a job interview that her son had recently gone to.  He had to teach the interviewing panel something, using no visual aids or props, he had to answer situational questions about "on the job" scenarios, and finally, he had to give a list of 10 things that he "was not".  He, of course, asked for clarification on how literal they wanted him to be: "I'm not a desk", etc.  They said that they were looking for 10 things about who he is, his personality. 

Wow...quite the challenge, especially on the spot in a job interview.  Not only coming up with 10 things, but having them be 10 things that don't sound completely negative. 

This got me thinking.  What am I NOT???  Somehow describing what you ARE seems exponentially easier than describing what you are NOT. 

It's taken a few days of consideration, but here's what I've come up with so far. 

1.  I'm not always sure of myself
2.  I'm not dishonest
3.  I'm not spontaneous
4.  I'm not going to allow myself to be taken advantage of or manipulated
5.  I'm not always willing to take advice or ask for help
6.  I'm not sure that I really and truly want kids
7.  I'm not used to someone wanting to take care of me
8.  I'm not content
9.  I'm not happy with any part of my body
10.  I'm not as negative as I sometimes sound
11.  I'm not comfortable having to be assertive
12.  I'm not decisive
13.  I'm not dogmatic or closed-minded
14.  I'm not insensitive
15.  I'm not sure if I've made my parents proud
16.  I'm not interested in being the center of attention
17.  I'm not afraid to be silly

Now, obviously, this is not a list that I'd give to a potential employer, but I thought it was an interesting exercise in self-awareness.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Let It Snow!

When Ben and I made the decision to move from California to Ohio, we knew that it would mean not only big changes, but big compromises.  I, for one, had gotten really used to the California climate.  Call me crazy, but getting to wear flip flops 10 months out of the year was not exactly a hardship!

But, we knew that Ohio was where we needed to be, so we made the move, all the while trying to mentally prepare for our first Ohio winter. 

Aaaaand...we're still waiting for it. 

Knowing that things were going to be tight for the first few months, we decided that Ben should buy a snow plow for his truck, in order to make money during the slow winter months that we've come to expect in his business. 

Call me crazy, but I actually thought that there would be snow in Ohio in the winter - maybe I've just been gone too long - but this is not winter in Ohio as I remember it! 

I remember bitter cold, snow drifts that came up to your waist, sledding, skiing, and best of all, SNOW DAYS!

I don't recall a winter in Ohio that included thunder storms, flooding, and 50+ degree weather!

I suppose it's Murphy's Law - if we hadn't bought the plow, we'd probably have had 3 blizzards by now. 

All I know is - we need it to snow! 

We're watching the weather hopefully, expectantly, willing it to snow!  We wake up and check the weather.  Throughout the day, we're checking the weather forecast to see if anything has changed.  Before we go to bed, we're checking the weather yet again, praying that an unexpected squall is headed our way.

If there actually is snow in the forecast, Ben is looking out the window every 10 minutes to see if the illusive flakes have begun to fall.  Then, when it doesn't come, or doesn't stick, he pouts.

I know that most of you Ohioans think that this winter weather is just fine and dandy, and if it weren't for the plow attached to Big Red that cost several thousand dollars, I'd be right there with you. 

But, for now, I need for it to snow!!!  I need for Ben to quit pouting every time the sun comes out or the temperature goes above 40 (which it's done a lot).  I need to stop second guessing the decision to buy the stupid plow in the first place.  I need to not feel guilty because it's raining (as if I had anything to do with it).

Mind you, I'm not asking for sub-zero temperatures, or a blizzard (though I wouldn't mind the blizzard).  I'm just asking for temperatures below freezing so that we get less rain and more snow, and when it does finally snow, the ground (and roads) are cold enough to let it stick.

For Ben's sake, and my own sanity, please - let it snow, let it snow, let it SNOW!!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just The Two Of Us

On Saturday, I got to spend some time with my dad.  Just the two of us!

I realized afterwards that although Ben and I moved here to spend more time with my parents, and although we do see them once or twice a week, I couldn't remember the last time that JB and I did anything alone.

The great part about Saturday wasn't my was my dad's!

I get my hair cut at the same place my parents go.  The same woman cuts our hair, and over the last few months, my dad and I have been on the same haircut schedule.

Last week was no different.  My dad had been in earlier in the day, so on Wednesday evening when I went in to chop off my hair, I was able to get an update from Cheryl on how he'd been that day (as he tends to get pissy when she cuts his hair "too short").

So, as Cheryl filled me in on her earlier appointment with JB, she told me that he had said something really sweet.  When she mentioned to him that I was coming in later that evening for a hair cut, he said "I wish I'd known.  She and I could have gotten our hair cut at the same time and then gone for a father-daughter dinner together."

Melt my heart, JB!

So, I'd already had it in my head that I was about due for some alone time with JB.  But just imagine my surprise when he called me on Saturday morning to see if I wanted to go to breakfast with him, just the two of us.

It hit me, as we sat in Perkins talking about nothing too important, that this is exactly why we're here.  For moments and memories like those.  We're here to be helpful, to ease the burden, but mostly we're here to spend time.  

It also made me realize that I need to make more of an effort to spend time with my dad alone.  It's great to spend time with both of my parents, great to have Ben with me when we take JB to dinner.  But, it's also important to set aside time for me and JB.  Just the two of us!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


The other night, as Ben and I were going to sleep, we took turns making a list of things that we want to do in 2012 - new things, things we want to do better - we took a few minutes to speak frankly about what we want to change this year.

Here's what we came up with:

Have at least 1 night a week with no tv
Cook 1 new recipe per week
Fold laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer (and put it away)
De-clutter our apartment
Pay bills as soon as they come in
Save $200 per month
Plan and take a trip just the 2 of us
2 date nights per month
See more movies in the theater
Spend more time with Roo and JB
Take more pictures
Improve our relationship with my brother
Make 2 new friends (me)
Lose 50 pounds (me)
Incorporate more fruits and veggies into our diet
Go to bed before 10:00
Shop with coupons
Drink more water
Read more books
Be aggressive with finding work (Ben)
Start a family

Lots of these require little adjustments and changes, while others represent a shift in lifestyle.  We'll see how we do!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life Unplugged

Tonight, at our house, we're trying something new. 

A night without tv. 

That's right, folks.  We have unplugged! 

Don't get too excited.  It's not like we threw out the tv.  We are just doing without it this evening. 

I feel like every night is the same.  We make dinner with the tv on.  We eat dinner on our tv trays.  After dinner, we go back and forth about what show we should watch next. 

Instead of connecting, talking, and enjoying the quiet that the evening offers, we are all about what shows are recorded, what sports games are on, and who gets to pick what we watch. 

So, tonight, we sat at the kitchen table, tv off, and talked.  We didn't even talk about anything especially deep or important - but we did talk.  Uninterrupted.

I fear that Ben and I have begun to rely on the tv to help us tune out our own lives.  We're stressed, things are tough right now, but if the tv is on, we can forget about the stress of our world and lose ourselves in the show. 

I don't want to do that.  I want to take time to talk, to think, to decompress, and to figure things out.  

Maybe this will be our new thing: once or twice a week, a night without tv! 

Whether or not it sticks, I'm thankful for the peace and quiet tonight!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Seasons Of Life

I had to think long and hard about this week's "Thankful" post, which is why it's a day late.

Ben and I have been feeling some "baby pressure" lately.  Friends, family, the little off-hand comments that they make.  Some of it is our fault - we readily engage in the "what baby names do you like this week" game, and it seems that not more than a few days goes by without us (or someone else) making a comment that begins with "when we have kids..."

But, we're not there yet.  There are several reasons for this, and while we want to have a family eventually, we need to be smart and wait until the time is right. 

So, today, this week, this month (you get the idea), I'm trying to be thankful for this season of our lives.

I'm thankful that we only have to worry about the 2 of us. 

I'm thankful that we can go to sleep at night and (most nights) not wake up until our alarms start beeping at 7:30.

I'm thankful that we don't have to stress over paying for diapers and formula and bottles and childcare and car seats and more diapers and toys and baby clothes...

I'm thankful that we can go out to dinner without hauling 20 pounds of baby crap with us (and sit to enjoy a pleasant meal without a fussy little one).

I'm thankful that, at least for now, we can make plans without worrying about how it will effect a napping schedule.

I'm thankful that our apartment doesn't smell of spit-up and soiled diapers.

I'm thankful that we have the option to take a vacation without worrying about how a baby would handle the travels.

Don't get me wrong - we do want all of those things - the smelly diapers, the 3 a.m. feedings, the cranky toddler in a restaurant (and of course all the fun stuff that comes with kids)...just not yet.

I know someday we will look back on these days of "just the 2 of us" and smile (or possibly struggle to remember what life was like before little ones).

So, as we wait for the "right time" to present itself - I will be thankful for this time in our lives when all we have to worry about is each other!