August 31, 2011

Adventures in Interviewland

I had an interview in Detroit on Monday. Normally, this would be exciting, and it was, until I had to actually get there.

My interview was set to begin at 3 pm, and in situations like that, I am very particular about being there at least 10-15 minutes early. Knowing that one of my greatest talents is getting lost, I arrived in Detroit at 2:15 to give myself plenty of time to figure out how to get to the office. As it turns out, I did drive around for about 15 minutes before I found what I believed to be the correct building and the parking structure across the street, as described in the email I was following. Great.

Enter my inability to understand driving directions.
I walked around this particular monument about 4 times..

I exited the parking structure and crossed the busy street, walked into the building and loved the sound of my heels clicking against the marble floors. I spoke to a very nice gentleman at the reception area, who assured me I was absolutely not in the correct place. In fact, I was four blocks away.


Four blocks isn't too bad, I thought. Oh, how wrong I was. That four blocks turned into 1 mile. Keep in mind that it was 83 degrees outside, the sun was relentless, I was lost, and I had 20 minutes to walk a mile in heels across the city, and that 20 minutes would put me at the office at exactly 3 pm.

By the time I arrived at the correct location, my feet were bleeding from the blisters that both formed and popped in the first 10 minutes of my trek. My shirt was nearly soaked through with sweat (something that has never happened to me, incidentally, even after half an hour on the treadmill, I never sweat that much! Gross.) I was 4 minutes late, and my stress level was out of control. My hair was matted to my head and I was the epitome of a "hot mess" at that point.

I imagine this was the general additude of my
blistered toes by the time I arrived home.

Frankly, I was amazed they let me join the interview given my appearance and tardiness. I did the best I could to answer the questions and appear unphased by my body temperature (I must admit, I was impressed with my self-control as I resisted fanning myself or attempting to clean my bloodied feet). In the end, they were very kind about the whole thing.

I'm not sure if I'll be called back for a second interview, but regardless, this was an important learning experience. I know that I have a strong drive to make things happen, and I think that came through as I practically ran to get to the interview on time. I know that next time, I will definitely make sure I drive by the proper office a day or two ahead of time.

The walk back to my car was one of the most painful walks in my life...paying $17.50 for parking was offensive to me as well. I'm not sure I can think of any parking structure that is worth that fee for an hour and a half.

So was the Journey Through Interviewland from Hell.

August 29, 2011

Running Through The Vehicle City

Here's a bit of irony for you: on Saturday was the annual Crim Festival of Races came to Flint, a city which boasts the name "Vehicle City," as if to suggest it is the younger, more scrappy brother of Detroit, the Motor City. Just last weekend was a huge car show known as Back to the Bricks, and this week, running aficionados found themselves flocking to the brick streets downtown. Interesting that a city based around driving as a major form of transportation also supports the opposite: the use of no vehicle at all!

My friend Tobi was in town, so we went into the city in the morning on Saturday. Of course, neither of us run, so we stood by the buildings and watched as the runners took their marks, and eventually returned as sweaty, smelly, and hunger-driven. Thousands of people showed up to run, and thousands more showed up to watch. I had never been to the Crim before, and I had assumed that several people showed up, but I never would have guessed it would be on such a large scale. The race featured everything from a Teddy Bear Trot for the little tykes out there, to a 10 mile race.

In the end, a Kenyan man named Julius Kogo won the 10 mile race for the second year in a row, this year completing the race in 47:15. Personally, I'm not sure how that's even possible, but kudos to the people who are so well-conditioned who can do that! (Nerd alert: Kenyans are sometimes stereotyped as being excellent runners, and as it turns out, they actually have a high proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which may contribute to their ability to run long distances more, they're genetically predisposed to being great runners! Additionally, they train using low mileage and high intensity.)

While I don't dream of being a long distance runner, I may up the ante on the treadmill this week. Maybe someday, I'll participate in the Crim instead of watching...maybe.

August 25, 2011

What Are You Listening To?

I think it's fair to say that I listen to a wide variety of music, minus heavy metal...that kind of scares me. I'm one of those people whose music must coordinate with mood. If I'm happy, I absolutely cannot stand listening to "Debbie Downer" music or music that's full of angry rockers... nope, it's just not for me. However, when I'm stressed out, rock is great, and I have to ease myself into a better mood by gradually increasing the tempo of the music I have playing.

Lately, I've been in a "coffee shop mood" as I like to call it. Mellow is my thing right now. Calm, soothing, "drinking a latte and reading a good book" music. Of course, that's when I'm not in a  "it's summertime, I need a good drink, a body of water, and bonfire on the beach" mood, which leads to country music (yes, I know, how could I? Trust me, it's new for me too).

Here are a few recommendations:
1. Stevie Wonder-- I love him. On vinyl, it's as if he were singing to me from the heavens. I'd like him to sing me lullabies as I drift off to sleep...right after Morgan Freeman reads me a bedtime story. My favorite: For Once In My Life, that or One Little Christmas Tree

2. Adele-- She's got such a strong voice, it's amazing. Her Pandora station is great, and I've been spending the majority of my days with that pulled up on my computer and plugged into the speakers. My favorite: Set Fire to the Rain

 3. Jason Aldean-- This is where the country comes in. He's a little hick, but in such a good way. The country twang could mesmerize me for hours... and it does. I can't decide on a favorite, but for now: Dirt Road Anthem

4. Duffy-- Like Adele, her voice is strong, but this is a little different. Her music seems more raw, her voice more raspy. My favorite song? Warwick Avenue.

What's on your playlist?? I love new recommendations!!

August 23, 2011

We Will Never Forget

In a couple weeks, Americans will wake up to a somber litany of news and television specials. The 10th anniversary of the horrific events of 9/11 will undoubtedly bring painful memories rushing back to our consciousness.

Yahoo! has set up a collection of stories from everyday Americans who live every moment in remembrance of the terrorist attacks. After watching a few of the videos and reading the stories, it became impossible not to write about them. Take a look by clicking the link above...but keep a box of tissues handy!

I remember the morning the news broke as if it were today. I was just starting the 7th grade, and I had just arrived to my drama class. One of the "class clowns" rushed into class and told me the World Trade Center was hit. At the time, I had no idea what the World Trade Center was, nor did I have any clue as to what such an attack meant. I remembered the Columbine shooting, and in my young mind, I thought it must be something similar, only it was someone's office building that was hit. I didn't understand that the "office building" was a source of pride among so many Americans, nor did I understand just how deeply this would wound the public.

When I got home from school, after having listened to live coverage in each class that day, and watching a few students being called to the office (I later found out they had family in New York or at the Pentagon), I had to babysit. I remember the scope of the attacks were just beginning to sink in, and I wasn't sure what that meant for my own safety. I think the most heartbreaking moment of that day, for me, was hearing the little girl I was babysitting ask me, "are we going to be ok?" How was I supposed to answer that? I barely knew how to process what was happening, let alone how to explain to a kindergartner that she should not be scared...How could I? I was scared, and I'm sure I wasn't very convincing when I told her she had nothing to worry about.

I've never given blood, but this year, even though it seems small, I'm going to get over my hesitations and march to the nearest donation center. We may not be able to fully heal the wounds of those who lost family and friends that day, but maybe we can help someone heal now. What if every one of us donated a pint of blood, volunteered for an organization providing aid to our veterans, or gave to a cause supporting the families of the 9/11 victims? Imagine the good that could still come of the tragedy 10 years ago.

May we never forget, may we always hold our loved ones dear, may we stand together, one nation, undivided.

August 22, 2011

Current Reads

Looking for a good book? I've got plenty of recommendations...after all, I read like it's my job (anyone looking for a book critic?? That would be another one of my dream jobs!. Here are a few of them (no spoilers, I promise!):

1) At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks- I read this one in about 3 days, and during those few days, it was like an appendage. I was completely attached. The book follows Jeremy and Lexie through their whirlwind love story after a chance meeting. I laughed, but I cried even more. Talk about a tear-jerker! This is a great book for the beach, and great to read before bed if you don't mind staying awake a few more hours than you expected because you just can't put it down!

2) The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck- If you are starting a business, already own one, or have anything to do with sales or marketing, this is a must-read. Not only does it discuss effective ways to increase your customer loyalty and building a relationship with your customers, but it does so with humor. This is not the typical, dry, boring econ book; it's entertaining and informative. Awesome.

3) Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda- I'm not usually big on poetry, but I started reading Neruda's poetry not long ago, and I can't get enough. This is my favorite collection by him, but be warned, the poems aren't appropriate for kids! I read them in the original Spanish, and I recommend that if you can, but they are just as beautiful in English--give it a try!

 Up next on my list: Baggage Claim, Mother Theresa: Her Essential Wisdom, Wuthering Heights (loved it the first time, so I'm reading it again!) and The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. 

August 21, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away

For the last couple of days, people of all ages and all walks of life poured into downtown Flint to see some pretty sweet rides. Old cars, new cars, red cars, blue cars. A little bit of everything.

Generally, I know next to nothing about cars. All I want to know is that when I put the key in my car and give it a turn, the engine fires up. I'm convinced, however, that my boyfriend knows everything there is to know about some. He can identify cars instantaneously, and I'm usually surprised if he doesn't know the car's stats. Needless to say the Back to the Bricks Cruise Weekend is like a weekend of heaven for him. We walked around for a while Friday night, and he pointed out all the impressive cars (in my world, if it looks cool, it's impressive...that's not always true in the world of car people, apparently).

On Saturday, my younger sister and I headed back downtown to pass out some awesome keychains and bracelets for Fossil Cars. Of course, getting there was an adventure in and of itself. I'm not great with directions... and by that, I mean I'm absolutely awful at navigating anywhere. My ability to get lost in my own hometown is almost legendary. Everyone knows it.

Anyway, as we passed out the keychains and bracelets, we went from practically overheating in the hot sun to running through a torrential downpour in a matter of moments. As we ducked for cover in a doorway, a little boy and his dad were heading to the same area, only the kid was crying...hard. He had lost a flipflop while running through the rain and was quite upset about losing it.  We gave him a bracelet and a keychain and he started to calm down, but there was just no forgetting that flipflop.

We were completely drenched by the time we reached the pavilion area, and watched as the rain chased the crowd out of town. When talk of hail began, most of the cars were gone in a flash. It's amazing how fast the weather can change, huh? Eh, it was fun while it lasted, and we will definitely be back next year!

August 18, 2011

Call Me Old Fashioned

Almost daily, my boyfriend likes to remind me that he thinks I came straight out of the 1800s (depending on the day, sometimes a century or two earlier). I generally laugh it off-- sarcasm and jokes are an essential part of our relationship-- but today I came to a horrific, awful, terrifying realization: I sometimes do things that I suppose aren't normal for my age group and would be more well-suited for a "back in my day" story.

This morning I cracked open another book, not on my Kindle (not that I have one...), but an actual book, binding and that awesome "new book smell" and all.

Later, I picked up a needle and thread and patched up a faulty seam in my shirt. Since I was already in the midst of sewing a blanket for the looming fall and winter months, I got that back out as well and started stitching. Old school style. I opted out of the sewing machine option so that I could sit on the porch swing with my tea at the same time.

Of course, I could have chosen to finish the other blanket I started crocheting a few years ago before getting distracted. 

Granted, this is just one day's events...but I guess for now, call me Laura Ingles.

August 16, 2011

What the Doctor Ordered

Sometimes, a good day of volunteering is just what I need to get my head back in the game.

On Sunday, I woke up at 4:45 in the morning, stumbled blindly around my house for a while until I got my coffee, and through sleep-deprived, squinty-eyes, I headed out with a couple friends to volunteer at the 7th annual golf event benefiting The Alexander Foundation. We arrived a little before 6:00 am and wiped the morning dew off of the carts, attached the team numbers, and had VIP tickets to the Mosquito Festival that was in full force.

96 golfers came out to have a good time and benefit
The Alexander Foundation!
The golfers arrived in flocks a little before 8:00 and other volunteers registered them and sent them to me. I then handed them a free, awesome polo shirt that proudly displays "The Alexander Foundation" on the front. I loved joking with a few of the golfers, but most of all, I loved knowing that I was spending my day doing what I could to help kids with cranio-facial disabilities.

The little boy who inspired the creation of the foundation, Alexander, suffers from Cloverleaf Syndrome (find out more on the Alexander Foundation's website). 

By the time I made it home around 10:00 pm, I was exhausted and felt completely unable to stand up, let alone move around, but I felt more satisfied than I have in a while.

Moral of the story:
Frustrated with an unsatisfying job? Annoyed that you can't find a job? Looking for a way to mix things up a little and do some good in your community? Volunteer! It's an incredible boost of psychological energy, and you can make life a little easier for someone who needs it.

And you could start a mosquito-killing contest. I got 3 in 10 minutes. Take that, mosquitoes!

August 14, 2011

Thanks, Dad!

Father's Day may be over, but I want to give a shout-out to my dad today. I am convinced I have the best, most awesome, most exceptional dad out there. The hundreds of Facebook statuses claiming the same thing on Father's Day were misguided, clearly.

Saturday morning I was greeted with a fresh cup of coffee and a bagel (my favorite breakfast combo, I love carbs), followed by an hour's worth of friendly chit chat with my dad. Of course, he had been up for hours--he's one of those folks who considers 9am way too late to be still sleeping-- and had already fertilized the lawn, put in new trim in his bathroom, and finished grouting the new tile.

A few hours later, after feeling as though I had just come in from flogging a dead horse and then repeatedly bashing my head into a cement wall (I was job hunting and filling out applications), I heaved a deep sigh and slumped down on the couch. He sat with me for about two hours listening to me gripe about being bored to the point of wishing there was paint I could watch as it dried as that sounded thrilling in comparison to my day, and I went on about the frustrating (understatement of the century) job market.  By the end of the conversation, he had shared stories of his own about finding work in the first few years of my parents' marriage.

My dad, though, knows me enough to know that when I'm in full-on gripe mode (which, in all honesty, is pretty rare for me, I think), advice is generally the last thing I will listen to. All I want to do is vent. And I can be good at it. So he just let me go. As soon as I was done, after a few tears had been shed and it was all I could do to hold back the sniffles, he promptly stood up, started a pot of coffee (my ultimate weakness), and brought me a cookie he made the other day. We then talked for another couple of hours about absolutely anything, just something to keep my mind off of the job hunt. We even compared the nearly matching scars on our shins--we call them battle wounds-- from various reckless childhood days.

When it was all said and done, we had a couple laughs and I was feeling much better...I even laughed when he made fun of how blue my eyes looked because the "red puffiness really brings out the blue" when I cry. Funny, Dad. Reeeal funny.

Eh, I know I'll find a job, and it will be one I love. I know it takes time, and I know it's probably going to be frustrating for a little while, but sometimes, a good vent and a good cry is really all you need to get back at it again. So, thanks, Dad, for truly being the best around <3

August 13, 2011

Pack Rat?

This afternoon I watched an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive on TLC. At times, I have been accused of being a pack rat, but I'll tell you one thing: that show made me grab the nearest box of notes and books from school and start purging. When it was all said and done, I saved the textbooks (for good reason, fyi: my sister is taking psychology classes) and a couple notes that may be helpful, but I threw out the majority of the contents of that box.

I once experienced first-hand what it was like to walk into the home of a hoarder. It was easily one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life. The man who owned the home, let's call him Walter, was a nice enough man, albeit a little anti-social. Walter had most likely been collecting things for as long as I have been alive. In every direction, there were stacks of yellowed newspapers, magazines, stickers, paper, mail, trinkets of all shapes and sizes, really everything you can think of, Walter had it, and he had more than one.

The thing that really got me, though, was the spider webs. I'm arachnophobic (which means I have an irrational fear of spiders), and it's getting worse and worse. I went to school for psychology, and I learned all about phobias and how to deal with them, but man it's hard. I can feel myself getting anxious just writing about the little creepy-crawlies now, for example. Walter's house was covered in spider webs. Brown ones. That means they have been there for a while, just collecting things, dirty things.  Ewwww!!

Part of all those psychology classes was learning about hoarding. I think that one thing the show should touch on more is the fact that it is actually an illness. Simple as that. It's a mental illness that needs attention, just like any other anxiety disorder (hoarding is one of them), eating disorder, or depression. Some psychologists look at it as a disease, just like any other mental illness.  If you get a chance to watch the show, take not of how many of those cases have some emotionally traumatizing event that sets it off. Maybe a death in the family makes them hold on to everything, maybe abuse, maybe poverty as a kid, who knows.

As for Walter, my guess is it was the death of his mother, which he never specifically mentioned, but he referred to her a few times and that the house had been hers. I'd wager he was afraid to get rid of anything that reminded him of her, and it spiraled out of control. I hope he eventually gets the help he needs, because living in those conditions is simply not safe. If you know anyone who is a hoarder, don't take it upon yourself to get rid of their "junk," to them, it's much more than that. Instead, get them professional help, preferably someone who has a lot of experience with anxiety disorders.

I'll be here being terrified of the spiders in that memory and throwing out anything I can find.

August 12, 2011

Not a Fan

Here's the thing. I hate roller-coasters. I really, really don't like them. I struggle with the smallest ride in Cedar Point (not that I've gone in at least 5 years), to the point that it's a huge accomplishment if I even get on the ride. Maybe it's a little bit of a control freak in me, because I'm starting to realize more and more that I get generally uncomfortable if I'm not in control of a moving vehicle. Of course, a vehicle that is moving fast and at extreme angles, and possibly upside down, has "bad day" written all over it for me.

As if those weren't bad enough, there is a whole new roller-coaster lately that has me on pins and needles. Let's talk about how much I want to avoid looking at the stock market at all costs these days. Now that's terrifying. You know those dragon boat rides that swing way, way up and then backward, and fast? That's what I think of when I think "stock market" right now. That's not a good thought at all.

As stated in Yahoo! Finance this morning, "the Dow Jones industrial average soared 423 points on Thursday. It had already fallen 634 points Monday, risen 429 Tuesday and fallen 519 Wednesday. Never before has the Dow had four 400-point swings in a row." Oh come on, already! I'm not saying I have a great solution, and I'm no professional in terms of the market, but I can tell you something had better happen, and fast.

Needless to say, I'm glad I graduated already because my tuition payments came from investments my parents made years ago in that market (of course, that was paired with several loans in my name as well). Had I not gotten out of school when I did, who knows how I would have pulled off paying for school.

So, maybe I can't offer finance advice, but as with anything in life, this is going to require compromise from everyone. It's a skill that most children learn in preschool. Johnny got the last cupcake? Well, how about we split it and both Johnny and Suzie get to enjoy the sweet treat? Why is that skill eluding middle aged men and women? Now there's a mystery. In my opinion, a lot of complex problems can have simple solutions. Making things more complicated isn't going to help.

August 10, 2011

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

We all have quirks (come on, admit it, you know you do too), and of course some may argue I have a few more than others. In my recent less-than-busy days, I have been able to fully enjoy the things I love most. There's a silver lining in everything, right?

I've compiled a list of some of my favorite things, and I'm curious, do you enjoy any of the same things? Share some of your own favorites by leaving a comment!

1) Reading. I read all the time, like my life depended on it. I read "beach novels" that would definitely not be considered classics, but are still just so entertaining. I read the classics, of course, and I definitely enjoy them (in fact, I'm often accused of speaking in phrases that society has long since retired). Sometimes, I even read books that are considered textbooks, and yes, I know how much of a nerd that makes me, but there's just so much to learn out there, how could I pass that up?!
I was honored to be 1 of 2
Maids of Honor in the
wedding of my best friends!

2) Weddings. I love everything about them. The flowers, dresses, lighting, vows, the look on the groom's face as his bride walks down the aisle, everything. For a time, I considered being a wedding planner, but the realization that bridezillas are absolutely terrifying to me sort of put that idea on the back burner.

The UM vs. MSU game is
by far our biggest
3) Fooball. Yeah, it's true. I love the atmosphere at a game, and I love the rivalry that comes with disagreeing on the better team. My boyfriend and I have a football season tradition: every week, we bet on the winning team. The winner could get anything from picking the next movie we see to making the loser wear the opposing team's colors in public (it's cruel and unusual punishment, really).

4) Duchess Catherine. Oh come one, you didn't think I would leave her out, did you? I love the simplicity and subtle beauty she brings to today's celebrities. Her hair is completely attainable for anyone, and so is her style. It would be impossible not to love her, in my opinion.  

5) Exercising. I never really feel awake until I've gotten a good workout in. Even if it's just a walk around the block, I need to get my blood moving or I will feel completely sluggish all day. For me, it's all about feeling energized and healthy, and really that's what it's all about, right?

Maybe this list was less surprising than you thought it would be, but then again, I'm not usually vocal about the football, at least. Eh, there are more things that keep me going, but those are for another day, stay tuned ;) What's on your list??

August 7, 2011

Movie Review: Friends With Benefits

One word: hysterical.

Never again will I keep a straight face when I hear a man sneeze.

Suddenly, I have a new appreciation for my conservative mother rather than one who would hit on my boyfriend.

I have been inspired to dig out my NSYNC CDs, though for reasons other than the movie itself. More like I was reminded of my love for Justin Timberlake.

Having a loft apartment in a big city seems way cooler than it already did.

Basically, if you're looking for an entertaining couple of hours, I definitely recommend Friends With Benefits, and I don't take comedy lightly. Slapstick humor is ok, but not worth the ever-rising ticket costs and sticky theater floors. Situational humor though, is glorious. Maybe I love it so much because I have found that I live a great portion of my life finding myself in laughable situations that seem straight out of some sort of comedy series on TV.

Bonus: not only is it entertaining for the lovely ladies out there, but it's good for guys too. Let me tell you, I have seen my fair share of action-packed flicks lately since my dear boyfriend prefers them over a good tear-jerker, chick flick (imagine that), but even he loved this one! So call up a good friend, your beau, or someone other than your conservative parents or people easily offended by scenes for mature audiences, and have a good laugh!

August 6, 2011

On Angels' Wings

Left to right: Lauren, Andy, and me on graduation day
Today my thoughts are with a friend of mine named Andy. I've never been a huge fan of all the fighting going on in the world (don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of America), but I also know that sometimes it's a necessary evil to keep people safe. The sacrifices our troops make are incredible, selfless, and awe-inspiring.

After meeting Andy a few years ago in college in our sorority, I gained a whole new respect for what they go through. She may not know how much I look up to her and how much I have learned from her, but I sincerely hope I get the chance to tell her.

In early December, Andy was set to interview for flight school (she's in the army) with the hope of getting her wings. Our sorority, Pi Beta Phi, is The House of Angels. In my opinion, Andy has always had a set of wings. Her flight was leaving from Detroit in the early morning hours, and it meant she was leaving before the sun was up. I got up early to wish her goodbye, and it was then that I truly gained an all new respect for her. Here was a young woman who had worked harder than anyone I knew to finish her schooling (she was leaving about 2 weeks before the end of the semester) and had already delayed college when she joined and was deployed. She was about to give up a VP position in our sorority, for none other than philanthropy. Fitting that she gives so much for her country, but then gives a little more for her community. She did so with a smile, grace, and serenity that I only hope to reflect in my own life.

Soon, she'll be starting a 21-day training program that will take her incredible strength and determination to get through. I know she can do it.

Today, I encourage all of you reading this to think of someone who serves our country and send up a little prayer for them or take a moment to think of what they must be experiencing. Whether you support the war or not, support the men and women who are making sacrifices every day so that you can live in the land of the free, because of the brave.

Oh, and Andy, if you happen to read this, good luck to you, and as you train for your wings, remember, in our eyes, you already have them!

August 5, 2011

(Not-So) Ms. Fix It

Few things are quite as scary as sticking your hand down the disposal, which, by the way, is something I have a particularly strong aversion to. I am here to tell you that sticking your hand down the disposal after shattering a glass in the sink is far scarier. When the disposal quit working today, and literally moments after the glass shattering incident, the first thing I wanted to do was run somewhere far, far away. The very LAST thing I wanted to do was figure out what was jamming it. My mind raced with visions of glass shards hiding just out of view waiting ever so patiently to mutilate the nails I had just painted, then on to my poor hands. It was horrible.

Of course, I didn't get the chance to do so because my grandmother decided she could fix the disposal. She was convinced we could spin the blades manually to clear it enough to make it come back to life. I would love to tell you what happened next, but after arguing my concerns for her safety and being met with nothing but a stubborn refusal to sit down, I had to leave the kitchen. No way was I going to watch her do this. My mother happened to walk through the kitchen, and apparently saved the day, though of course grandma says she fixed it.

I suppose I should be happy she wasn't climbing on a wheelchair. Don't laugh, it's happened. Why? She was trying to reach something.

Today I discovered one thing: I may be stubborn, but I am certainly not stubborn enough to stick my hand down a glass filled disposal. No, thank you.

August 4, 2011

Rainy Days Aren't Meant For Kids...

Those of us over the age of 16 felt a little bad for the kiddies today after waking up to dreary skies. The adults began to load up on coffee, preparing for a day cooped up in this little cabin, and the kids were ready for adventure from the moment they woke up. Since their grandma had arrived in the evening yesterday, it was still exciting for them to see her.

Seizing this opportunity, the older cousins all got ready at record speed and set out for the neighboring town to do a little shopping. Of course, this meant stopping in the stores with free food samples, and not actually purchasing anything. After walking for a time, we concluded lunch was in order, and realized that perhaps our indecisiveness was a family trait, not just individual, lovable (we like to think) traits. Needless to say, a few hours away was a welcome treat, and nothing could have reminded us of that more than the events of the ensuing hours.

Shortly after stepping foot back in the cabin, we were greeted with "Moooom!! Mommy!! MOM, SHE HIT ME! SHE WON'T SHARE THE SQUEAKY DUCK!" Ahhh, the joys of motherhood. I took the opportunity to relish in my ability to return any and all children to their respective mothers. Yes, that was a comforting feeling, to be sure. A few hours later, as we finished dinner and were entertained by chanting of the "ice cream and cake, cake, cake!" variety, we coulbdt have agreed more as an exhasperated 6-year old looked desperate to quell the arguing and fussing, and complained, "I'm just over all this noise!"

A quick nod around the table and the adults agreed, yes we were as well, and so to bed the kids were sent. Overall, all the kids did well for being stranded inside all day, and each had her moment as the little angel we know they each are. Sometimes, even on the cranky, no-nap, rainy days, it's just as funny to see them so concerned over such trivial things... Well, at least it is with the luxury of a child return policy ;)

August 3, 2011

Decaf? What does that mean?!

Ah, the beach. A beautiful breeze, the hot sun, perfectly warm water... And about enough sunscreen to choke a horse. My family isn't exactly known for the ability to tan, so instead we load up on our SPF 70 sunscreen (50 if we feel like living on the edge), and off we go. After sprinting across a busy highway to get to the beach (5 kids in tow, of course, makes it a little more challenging because that also means all the sand toys we're carrying), we set up the two umbrellas. Yes, two. We can't have our freshly sunscreened skin out in the sun!

After a while of building sand castles (which are routinely knocked down by the only boy in the family...ahem...), I have the pleasure of giving approximately 400,000 underdogs, by my count. Of course, once my arms can barely lift a feather and my head has gotten a few swift kicks, it's only natural we should splash around in the water.

When finally everyone was winding down an the kids (really more like the adults) were ready for a nap, we trekked back to the cabin, cleaned off, and started dinner. The "big kids," otherwise known as the 20-30 something year olds, settle down with a good book, take a short nap in the sun (who is the traitor who brought the decaf coffee?? How do they expect us to be alive without regular coffee?? Obviously they are not really part of this family), and chat about boys, weddings, and babies-- our favorite topics, duh!

By the end of the day, though, we were all glad to be together again, even if we have to disown someone for the terrible, even disgraceful, choice in coffee.

August 2, 2011

Oh, And One More Thing

While we're on the topic of the Royal Wedding, I should add that I fully intend on seeing Kate's wedding dress at some point. It is now number one on my List of Things To Do Before I Die. Anyone who could make this happen is strongly encouraged to inform me. Immediately.

Alright. I'll give it a rest, but only for now. As soon as the royal couple announces a pregnancy, you know I'll be writing about it. Don't say you weren't warned.

Today I find myself in the northern parts of the Motherland. It's the annual Grandma's Week, and it's our first full day at the little brown cabin that used to seem so big. You see, Grandma's Week is a special week. My grandparents only had granddaughters, so it was all very cutesy for many years. All the girls would head up to the cabin with Grammie and Poppa in the old blue station wagon, and once we arrived, we'd scurry across the busy highway to the beach and played on the rickety teeter-totters and metal slides. Those, of course, are now completely inappropriate in today's But My Child Can't Get a Skinned Knee, He'll Never Recover From Embarrassment society, and have since been removed, so you can rest easy knowing we won't have any skinned knees here.

Here's where it got fun those days. There were six of us a the time (my sister wasn't born yet. She's the first to tell you our lives weren't exciting until the day she graced us with her presence...) and since we were young, we washed our hair in the lake and all in all didn't mind only having one bathroom, which was primarily for the four adults. Now things are different. Now we're in our twenties and thirties, and we most definitely do care that we share (a much needed) second bathroom, because now there are great grandchildren. Don't get me wrong, they're adorable, I love seeing them when I can...but 16 people is a lot more than 10.

Grammie still asks about the "plays" we put on for the adults when we were kids (and teens), which ranged in both quality and subject matter (literally, from marriage to basketball stars on steroids). Needless to say, I feel at this point that I am a little old for parading around in old, beat up prom dresses from the 80s on the front porch of the little cabin for all to see. Traffic has been known to stop and watch these plays. I wish I was kidding.

I have no doubt that many stories will come out of this little excursion, so stay tuned. After all, who doesn't love the classic situation involving 15 (yes, there is 1 boy now) women, two bathrooms, and only 4 bedrooms? It can only lead to one thing: Thinking. About how much we really do need another bed.

August 1, 2011

Duchesses, Dreams, and Dresses

Today's topic? The wedding.

Don't get all excited just yet. Not my wedding. No, I couldn't subject all this thinking on a male-type full time just yet.

The Royal Wedding. The wedding with which I was (not so) secretly grossly enamored for the better part of the first 7 months of 2011. I'm sure anyone who knows me who happens to be reading this post is undoubtedly rolling their eyes as I have successfully found ways to mention the wedding, Kate, or Wills in almost any conversation (it's almost a talent, really). I won't go into the typical "but it's the classic princess fairy tale" routine, I promise (even though I totally believe every disgustingly sappy word).

I'd have to say that my ultimate, deepest, most urgent wish for a career is to be the official biographer for the Duchess. Heck, at this point, I'd be her official shoe buffer, let's be honest. I have a lovely picture in my mind of us painting our toenails and discussing the latest hosiery and hat trends. It would be perfect. I would love every acetone and nylon filled minute. Every. Single. One.

I suppose until I land this completely perfect, career...I will have to settle for looking at photos of that perfect dress and all her other perfect outfits for hours on end.

So, here I sit. Dreaming of the Duchess Who Wore The Perfect Dress, as she is now officially least in my mind.
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