Saturday, December 20, 2008
I'm gone for a week and when I get back there's a freakin marble coaster glued to my coffee table. Lord only knows what it is that's doing the sticking but truth be told I'm silently impressed cuz that coaster isn't going anywhere without taking half the table with it. My mind reels as Kevin sleeps peacefully upstairs (for now). I don't think I've seen this trick since college. What in the world did we use back then to remedy this kind of stuff? Or did we even bother? Ugh. Tis the season and all that.
I haven't yet been able to write about Grammie, her life and her passing. I will when I'm ready.
Over and over again I catch myself saying 'I'll be able to breathe a little next week' or 'After this week things will calm down and I'll be able to catch up'. But then the next week I catch myself repeating those same words. And somehow it's less than a week away from Christmas and I haven't bought a single gift or card. I look around my house and realize my holiday decorating efforts are abysmal at best and I never did get around to baking all those damn holiday cookies intended for co-workers and the like. Perhaps that last bit though is best for everyone.
My plane leaves for Hawaii in 6 hours. Perhaps there I can find some peace. Some breath. Inhaling the sun, exhaling the cold and ice. Inhaling the fresh sea air, exhaling ick. Wish me luck.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Do call the person on their birthday. Do not wait until Christmas and say 'Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas! We thought we'd save a dime and combine the calls!' Same goes for bdays that fall after Christmas. 2. separate. calls.
That being said, do not combine bday and xmas gifts into the same gift. Your bday's in June, do you get combined bday-xmas gifts?? Yeah, didn't think so.
If your bday person is still under 3 feet tall and to your thinking is 'too young to remember' then think again. I so wish now that I'd been clever enough to formulate the words effectively back then so I could have yelled 'SCREW YOU GUYS I'M OPENING MY DAMN PRESENTS!' Mom, Dad, I love you and while I admit freely to having a crappy memory I have to say this, this I remember... Mandating that 6 year-olds can only open presents during the commercial breaks of football games is total bullshit and could potentially lead to years of therapy. Playoffs or no playoffs. Save yourselves the time, money and guilt and have the parties a) on a day without football, 2) at a venue away from football or c) RECORD THE DAMN GAME AND WATCH IT LATER! This is, after all, the age of DVR, TEVO, and other gadgety stuff.
Do make the events separate. Some how. Some way. The few days before Christmas are often crunch time for everyone, birthday individual included. I can count on one hand the number of times I actually celebrated my birthday on my birthday which now come to think of it is actually ok with me. Believe it or not I'm not even a big bday celebrator. Product of my upbringing perhaps? Dunno. That too could take a separate posting. Between you and me, too much attention makes me uncomfortable. Shocking but true.
For anyone whose bday is actually on the 25th, you're on your own and good luck. I've heard that some people do half bdays in the summer. Hmmm...
Thursday, December 11, 2008
At the end of the game we turned to leave and who should be right behind us but Illinois's favorite governor - Milrod Blagojevich. With several Wrigley-sized beers in my belly I was feeling especially bold and asked his very large secret service man if we could take a picture with him. The very large secret service man hesitated at first, but all it took was a way too lingering - and thus uncomfortable for us - gaze at Jamaica's cleavage and Shady Rod quickly agreed.
Perhaps I'll hang this photo next to my personalized autographed menu by my former baseball hero Raphael Palmeiro (pre-scandal).
Does anyoneelse see a pattern here?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
And if you haven't read it, Leviticus 18 makes for some pretty interesting reading. It's part of the holiness code that God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Actually, the entirety of Leviticus makes for interesting reading. And in 11:9-12 you can read where God really does hate shrimp.
What do you think of the video?
Monday, December 1, 2008
Happy Birthday Sister!
*** UPDATE 12/3/08 ***
I just remembered this one story about my sister. I actually used to call her 'Sister'. For years. I think I thought that was her name. When I was really little tho it was more like 'Thither.' So that's how it was until the fall of 1986. I remember the time roughly because I was in the fourth grade and it was my first year at St. Thomas Aquinas. It was soccer season and the leaves were orange so I'm led to be believe that it was definitely fall. And it was definitely my first year at STA because it was also my first year to be taught by nuns. Nuns.
So that one fall afternoon we were left waiting for the day's carpool mom to pick us up (late). I was sitting on some steps with a friend (who at the moment has a fuzzy face) and Alethea (Sister) had just said something utterly snotty to me. As she walked off I can still see her tossing her triangular frizzy 80's bob haircut over her shoulder, and throwing her head back to laugh, eyes squinting in a Chinese-like fashion behind red-rimmed coke bottle glasses.
At that same time, Sister Bernadette and Sister Adrea were walking down the steps past me towards the convent. I yelled 'Sister, stop!' But Sister kept walking. Laughing and walking. And pounding my fist and even louder this time, I yelled 'Dammit, Sister - stop!' And she still didn't stop. But they did. Sister Bernadette and Sister Adrea stopped dead in their tracks. And turned slowly. Mouths slack. Eyes wide. Really, really wide.
Needless to say she was 'Alethea' from that day forth.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Look! Brothers bonding over beer! And cheese!
Then we went on to Uncle Gene and Aunt Marilyn's in the Kickapoo Valley. One of my favorite places to spend Thanksgiving. I think it was our 3rd - maybe 4th - Thanksgiving with them. They're just that awesome.
Tons of yummy food, football and Euker.
Not pictured was the apres-pie dear skinning in the garage. I hadn't seen one of those in probably 20 years and for some reason I was morbidly fascinated. Steve and Greg may have been a little disturbed by my questions and close proximity and then Kev gave me the stink-eye when I reached for my camera. Ah well. You are thus spared.
Below is a photo of our Saturday morning Lego fest. Magnus has more energy than the sun and has 1 speed - 'run'. Unless Legos are involved. I'm always amazed by how little guys can get into the Lego zone and stay for hours.
I'm being 100% truthful when I say that one of the things we love best about spending extensive amounts of time with Eric, Mandi, Magnus & Axel, is the fact that we are privy to all the ins and outs and daily grinds of child-rearing. Our moms might fear that it's something close to over exposure, but seriously, we always learn so much. We're spoiled here in Indy b/c usually by the time we make it over to a friend's house, the little people are always tucked away in bed, or all fed, hair combed, faces sparkling, halos adjusted just so. The houses are so neat and orderly... It's like they're trying to keep it all a secret.
With Eric & Mandi we hear the early morning wake-ups, see the round the clock feedings, smell the poop - and lots of it - and even feel the tension that a wailing baby for a 2 hour car ride can muster. The 2 hour cry fest really was quite unholy, but as soon as little Axel was freed from the confines of his car seat, he couldn't have been happier. And the crazy thing was that Magnus slept like rock the whole way. Sugar coma. We also got to see that going anywhere is a production of mass proportions but it is possible. You can still be social and take the kids with you when you give a tour of State Street, or have fried cheese curds and beer in one pub and then fried fish - and more beer (in moderation of course) - in another. 'Have kids will travel'. They don't make it look easy, they just make it look possible. And I swear I mean that as a compliment.
With all the crazy, we also get to bare witness to the so many special moments that make all the crazy and the chaos absolutely worth it. And at the end of the day, when the boys are in bed, Eric and Mandi are still up for a grueling game of Settlers of Catan. And beer.
So thanks again Eric and Mandi, for keeping it real. We had a great time as always and can't wait til the next visit!
Love you guys!
Me: Hey, it looks like some one finger-painted through the sunset!
Me: (in my head) Wow, he totally sees it.
Kev: Oh yeah, you can see the wings, the beak...
Me: Wow, he totally sees it again!
Kev: Oh yeah, like from the cover of that one album.
Me: The 'Imagine' album and I can't believe he's still on my same page - this is why we're married!!
Me: Ah well, 3 outta 4 ain't bad. sigh...
Was it these tough economic times that made this mob so desperate for the savings? Maybe. Was it the thrill of the hunt cloaked under the guise of a family holiday shopping tradition? Perhaps. Or was it just the fact that every year retailers across America grow more and more over-zealous to make their numbers by the end of 'Black Friday', that they would stop at nothing to get buyers in the door. Without any thoughts of safety and security. Even for an out-of-control mob of 2000 that literally takes the hinges off the doors and bum rushes a handful of employees and fellow mobsters. I mean, how does it get to the point where people are so driven by the 'eye on the prize mentality' that they don't even notice bodies at and under their own feet?
What the fug people?!? Where are we at, as a 'civilized' society, that would allow this to happen? It's sad and it's maddening all at once. Who's to blame? Apparently officials are looking at video footage to identify the faces of some of the hundreds of individuals who may have contributed to the trampling death, but really, are they the ones to blame? Can we point the finger at the corporate giants who prey and count on the disparity and single-mindedness of said civilized society? Who can we blame for the avoidable and inexcusable death of 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour? My opinion? Everyone. It's all our fault.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I go to class because I need it. My body needs it. My mind needs it for the sake of sanity. I admit freely that I suck at meditating. My mind just does not stop. There are times when I'm convinced that I've gone through life with ADD and someone forgot to tell me. So I focus on my breath. All the inhales which bring in energy and light, and the exhales which expel the anxiety and weight. It's an intense physical workout for the mind, body and soul. For 75 - 120 minutes (depending on the class) I can literally tune into the the breathing, the body, the music. I can shut the door and surrender any and all gadgets which keep me (too) connected and grounded to the outside world. And guess what, when I re-open that door, the world is still there.
I love headstands and I got to do them at three different points in class today - thank you Eric. When was the last time you viewed the world from one? Don't you remember waaaaaaay long ago when you were a free-spirited kid and the more things you could find to hang upside-down from,the better? We had no clue all the good we were doing for our young little bodies. Did you know that there is such thing as inversion therapy? Please hold my soap box sturdy while I climb on up: Inversions can be used to treat back pain as well as reverse other negative effects that gravity can have on your body. True story. Included in my 1 am wine-fueled epiphany was also a desire to try a new inversion pose – the scorpion. I saw it on the cover of the December issue of Yoga Journal and I thought 'wow, that looks cool.' In case you're wondering, that's it in the photo above, only the scorpion that I managed in class this morning paled in comparison, but at least it was a start. And it was cool and it felt damn good too.
Sadly, I don't get to class as often as I would like, but I feel that more lately I have given myself permission to say 'screw you guys, I'm going to yoga.' Call it selfish but often times it's more for the sake of survival than anything. You should try it sometime. It heals. It restores. It rejuvenates. I dare say it'll make you live longer too.
Friday, November 21, 2008
LITTLE PEOPLE MAY NEED TO COVER THEIR EYES
AND / OR LEAVE THE ROOM!
Oh mah gosh y'all, have her PR people abandoned her completely??
I promise I don't go out looking for this stuff,
it just finds me.
If you would like to see the whole news broadcast then watch this...
Monday, November 17, 2008
It's your Aunt Nicole and Uncle Kevin here to remind you that we love you and miss you all so so much! Here's a picture of us in case you've forgotten what we look like:
1. It's okay to color outside of the lines. In fact, create new lines of your own!
2. Read. A lot.
3. Dance when you hear music and make music when you can.
4. Wear costumes year-round.
5. Climb trees.
Aunt Nicole & Uncle Kevin
Thursday, November 13, 2008
and other things that make my head spin this morning:
2. Nearly 85,000 homes were LOST in the month of
October due to foreclosures
3. A Dallas mega-church pastor has issued a 7-day sex challenge
in an attempt to 'reclaim' sex for married couples.
4. Severed feet are popping up all over British Columbia
And it's not even 8 am folks.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Terry calls the above photo of her 'cheese cakey' and I absolutely love it. It shows an Esther that most of us never knew. So young and daring - sassy even. The photo below is from a visit to Texas, still sassy in her 80's in a field of blue bonnets. This is the Esther that I knew and loved and when I think of her, this is the snapshot I will forever have in my head.
Few know of her journalistic endeavors in her later years while residing at Avalon. When Kev and I were in Prague we received a small package containing a number of newsletters - The Avalon News - all of which contained short reflections and stories by Esther. It was such a gift for us to get these lovely little insights by her, especially while living so far away. I was fascinated to read that in 1926 she and her neighbor sang 'When we carved Our Hearts on the Old Oak Tree' on a RADIO program called 'The Children's Hour.' She described in great detail the anticipation leading up to it, her outfit, and even the 'exciting' ride in Mr. Walkers Ford - 'That's all anyone had then. Ford was it.' She and Susan dreamed of immediate fame and fortune, and altho it never found them after their radio debut, she went on to write 'the thrill of that moment still lingers on, and I've been singing ever since.'
She wrote another remembrance in April 2005 about lilacs and bluebonnets. This story struck me profoundly because it was always in late April and May that lilacs were in full bloom all. over. Prague. Absolutely everywhere, perfuming every street and every window, in every park, on every hill... At the same time I could envision the Texas fields and highways equally covered in bluebonnets.
This is what she wrote in the 'April Showers Bring May Flowers' section:
Lilacs are beautiful. I carried them on a plane to my daughter in New York once. They smelled up the whole cabin. As I disembarked from the plane, people kept asking me. "Are you the one with the lilacs?" Everyone enjoyed the beautiful fragrance. If I don't say anything about the Texas bluebonnets then I'm afraid I will never be allowed back in Texas again. My son lives in Dallas, and every year, in April, Texans look for the bluebonnets in fields, along the roadsides, everywhere. No one is allowed to grow them in their yards, though they grow wild throughout Texas. Ladybird Johnson's picture was taken in a field of bluebonnets. The last time I was in Texas, my son and his wife, Terry and Kathy, took me to a field to have my picture taken. However, I was never first lady of The United States.
She passed away while surrounded by the love of her daughter Diane and her grand daughter Amy. To the music of Amazing Grace and the reading of Psalm 23 she left this world in peace. She let go and let God take her home.
Friday, November 7, 2008
A lot has happened in the past few days. In case you've been living under a rock I'll give you the highlights. First, the United States (and the world in spirit) elected Barack Obama for president. Historical for so many reasons. Besides the obvious one being that we elected the first African American as president, this election also produced the largest voter turn-out in history. The 'young voters' can finally shake off their reputation for civic apathy due to the fact that they increased their participation by almost 20% over the 2004 election. But I digress.
The second event that took place occurred on the same day as Election Day and for that reason I feel went unnoticed by many. In California, a little thing called Proposition 8 was also on the ballot. Let me clarify,
Even Obama, for as many of his policies and beliefs that I agree with and thus voted on, there remain a small handful that are hard to swallow. This is one of them. Even he does not support rights for same-sex couples. For all the strides that we as a nation have overcome to ensure equal rights for all, I lament the passing of Proposition 8. It claws at the foundation of our fundamental freedoms and takes us back in recent history to a time when the blacks found themselves segregated against in extreme ways. Where the majority of the American (white) population were steadfast in their beliefs that blacks were not allowed the same privileges as whites. That they shouldn't be allowed to go to school with or even drink from the same water fountains.
We can look at images like these and maybe shake our heads in shame. Or chuckle at the ridiculousness of it all. I can only hope and pray that one day we will look back on times like these, and find things like Proposition 8 ridiculousness as well.
To add insult to injury,
Again, somebody please tell me why this is ok?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Won't you all be so relieved when Election 2008 is over and I can finally move on to more fun topics - like me for instance!
Well folks this is an exciting day. Altho it started a little early for my taste (5 am - oy), it was well worth it in order to exercise my democratic freedoms, and I must say I - am - excited. And hopeful. Hopeful being the key. On my way to exercise said freedom, I stopped by Starbucks for a little something to keep me upright - or at least conscious - while waiting in the much anticipated voting line. It wasn't until after I'd ordered my usual grande skinny vanilla latte (that would be non-fat and sugar-free - I'm a rebel like that) that I heard someone say something about free coffee for voters - WHA!?! Altho I was a bit miffed at having found out too late, I knew deep down that I needed that extra kick of espresso and the comfy aroma of vanilla. Ah well, a toast to you then corporate America! The one time in my life that I'll say it. Also while at Starbucks I was givin a top-secret strategic plan as to how to approach my voting precinct from the northeast side in order to avoid the worst of the voting traffic which was bottle-necked on the southwest. Yet another little nugget of info to take with me.
I arrived at my precinct full of hope with a little bounce in my step. I was armed with coffee, book (altho it was still too dark to read), and ipod of course. Disappointed that I hadn't prepared an inspirational mix especially for this day, I flew quickly threw my play lists and located 'Disco Mix C'. Song 1: Superstitious, Stevie Wonder. Yes. This is it. The beat gets me movin and I'm getting even more excited. I barely notice the line of 50 people in front of me or the fact that altho my shoes were fashionable AND functional, they were not perhaps practical at 6 am when the temperature is hovering at 40. Pas ne problem. My swift little dance steps will keep my toes warm. I love applying soundtracks to life. I often regret that no one else can hear them. Note to self: Next election, bring portable speakers.
A woman appeared at the back of the line and her arms were waving and she was turning in small little half circles with her eyes towards the heavens. Have the evangelicals arrived? No, just a woman upset because it was her third precinct to have to wait in line in. Note #2 to self: always check precinct numbers before voting - just in case. People were laughing and talking and making friends and sharing stories. I unplugged from time to time to join in and wax poetic with my new friends. I moved on to BeeGees – ‘You Should Be Dancing’ and the hits just kept on comin.
I made it up to the little old man who is handing me my ballot and he tells me at a deafening decibel how happy he is to see ‘so many young folk turn out for this blessed event’. That’s right readers, I’m still a ‘young folk’. I’m telling the absolute truth when I tell you that the song that started as I approached my booth was in fact James Brown – ‘I Feel Good’. I took a long hard look at my ballot. Took in every name, every category and eeeerrrrrkkk! That was the sound of my brain tires coming to a screeching halt. Circuit Court Judges – choose no more than 16. DAMMIT! The shame began to creep in. I gave myself a ‘C’ on my voting homework.
So I admit it, I didn’t fill out the entire ballot like a good citizen but I did double-check to make sure that my other votes would still count even if I didn’t fill out every category. Am I a bad person? Sigh. I suppose I could have avoided the stress all together by voting straight party ticket, but I didn’t because 1, I vote as a liberal, not necessarily Democrat – NO JUDGING – and 2, I really like to fill in the little circles. And I did, to the best of my ability, while ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough’ sang in my ears.
I am inspired. And I have hope. Isn't that what this day is supposed to be about?
Friday, October 31, 2008
The metro system there is all kinds of awesome.
It's aesthetically pleasing.
Efficient as hell.
It felt good to be back on public transportation.
There are no words for this place.
Over 290,000 are buried there and it's one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I've ever seen. I could have sat and stared for days.
This place made my heart hurt.
As did this one.
Recognize this guy?
Have you ever wondered what the inside of the dome looks like?
Well it's a fresco of a saintly looking George Washinton,
surrounded by his 13 angelic colonies.