Archive for the ‘love’ Category
In a world where we’re constantly being told we don’t measure up. That we aren’t thin enough or beautiful enough. Where even Disney is getting into the business of body shaming by taking a beloved girl character and turning her into a vamp. It’s nice to come across a woman who has her priorities straight and her dreams for her daugher seem healthy.
When Jaime Moore’s daughter turned five, she wanted a special photography session to mark the momentous occasion. She didn’t dress the young girl in evening wear or dress her like a Julie Roberts character. Instead, she dressed Emma as real-life heroines.
I love this! (Yet another reason to wish for daughters…)
Who are the heroines? Real women who changed the world of women for the better: Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel, Jane Goodall, and Helen Keller. What a list!
Isn’t it nice in the age of dance moms, real housewives, and faux celebrities to have actual women who have actual accomplishments recognized in such a positive way? What a gift Moore has given her daughter!
Who would you like to dress up as? Are their heroines Moore should add?
Lately, I’ve been caught up believing that everyone but me has The Perfect Family. While my family is inundated with problems and angst, other parents tweet their children’s unending stream of age-advanced adorable chatter. Other parents let us know that each of their children has an iPhone and an iPod…and they’re all under 10. The news features stories about tweens who raise funds for deadly illnesses.
Intellectually, I know there is no perfect family. They don’t exist. Each and every family is plagued with something negative. It’s how life works.
Some parents adore their children and abhor each other. Some parents aren’t really happy being parents. Some couples want children and don’t have any. Some families have great relationships with each other, but are forced to live in a car.
That’s why I think bloggers should have an absolute truth day. Weekly–okay monthly–we should vow to share something negative that happened in our homes and how we handled it. We could even open it up for suggestions how others would have handled it.
But I know that won’t happen. For the same reason I enjoy a movie or a book with a happy ending; because I don’t want to focus on the negative or it’s aftermath.
Maybe this is why comedians are often the unhappiest of people. At least that’s the word on the street. They’ve just learned to hide the bad by covering it up with laughter.
But if anyone thinks an absolute truth day would be helpful, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Maybe sometimes it’s just right to address the bad along with the good. Because that’s how life works.
I live in an area of disposable architecture. I must be the only one in the suburbs of Chicago who prefers an aging bungalow to a mass produced McMansion. Because all the houses with character are being torn down and being replaced with something with much less character and charm.
I don’t live in a house with charm. It’s one of about three models in our subdivision. It’s a nice house. It gets the job done, but there are no quirky built-ins or decorative wood work. There was no history here when we moved it; any that exists was created by us.
Growing up I knew a house with character. I was fortunate enough to live next door to my neighborhood’s “haunted house.” It was an eerie, hulking structure. No one lived in it when I was a child, but we played there nearly every day.
The giant pine tree was so big that the interior was a perfect play house. I can still remember the smell of pine sap and remember being covered in it as we tried climbing.
The redbud tree had a perfect branch for sitting in while reading. And if that wasn’t comfortable enough, the large, deep front porch provided a great place for lolling in the shade on a hot summer day. Adding to the mystery of the house was an old bathtub, still enclosed in packing materials. Why was it there? Why was it never installed?
The yard was full of mysterious things. Beautiful peonies dotted the yard in the summer. Bridal wreath bushes provided more rooms for secret meetings as well as head dressings for when we played bride.
The back porch was rickety and dangerous, nothing like the front porch. But we braved it occasionally to peek through the glass to see what was within. We knew from the open windows in front that there was still furniture and pictures hanging. From the back porch we could see the dining table. A side window revealed an ancient erector set, built into some contraption.
When I was in high school, someone moved in and I was able to make friends with him. Now I had access to the inner sanctum! The house had an old, dusty smell. It wasn’t unpleasant. It spoke of abandon and despair, but also of people who loved it enough to have someone in to clean even while it was lreft behind.
The kitchen held mysterious appliances (now I knew it was an early dishwasher!) and gorgeous built-ins that still held dishes and glassware. Old bathrooms contained grooming products from the ladies who formerly lived there. I know there were women because their clothes still hung in bedroom closets. Ancient toys sat unused and unappreciated in other bedrooms.
Up in the attic, paintings from an artist associated with the house were stacked ten deep. Abstract canvases abandoned with everything else.
I loved the house.
The last time I was in it, it was in such disrepair, I knew it wasn’t long before it was gone. I could see no hope in the plaster and lath walls that let in sunlight. I imagined the snow and rain gaining access to the interior, slowly rotting it away. Maybe like the dreams of the people who once lived there and who abandoned it and all their belongings?!
But I was wrong. I learned that the house had been sold. My first reaction was that it would be torn down. No! It is being lovingly restored by an instructor at Fort Hays State University. He and his students have plans for the structure and they’ve already made progress! It is being chronicled here at http://west17th.tumblr.com.
I am delighted. No, it will never be my house. But it isn’t going to be destroyed. I hope you have as much fun as I am watching the secrets of the house being revealed (this blog is how I found out the sink contraption was a dishwasher!) and the changes being made. In this day of disposable buildings, it is pleasing to find someone willing to re-capture the beauty of a once grand home.
Check out west17 and let me know what you think. What I could have done with the place…
In case you missed it, some time during the Inauguration festivities over the past weekend…wait for it…Michelle Obama rolled her eyes during a meal. There’s plenty of speculation about the source of the eye roll, with many wondering if it was John Boehner.
I’m a fan of Michelle Obama (except for her childhood obesity campaign that I think hurts more than helps). She seems very real to me. More real than some plastic first ladies of the past.
Michelle smiles and talks and walks and apparently works out. I know about the working out part because when the media isn’t speculating about her eye rolling, they are talking about her powerful arms. Oh, and now she’s made bangs official!
But right now we’re talking about the eye rolling.
Let’s give the woman a break. She’s a mother with teenaged daughters. She has a powerful, important husband and is constantly on stage. Some times she is going to slip.
I don’t think the eye roll had anything directly to do with John Boehner.* I know the political pundits are hoping Boehner said something like, “my guns are bigger than your guns” to taunt President Obama during lunch. Some are hoping he said something about his political action committee being bigger or that women can’t get pregnant during rape because their stress hormones prevent it. Of course they want something this licentious! Imagine the scandal! Imagine the headlines! Stop the presses!
I offer this, however: The Boys were talking about Boy Stuff and Michelle had had enough. I think any of these topics, eventually, garner an eye roll from even the most doting wife:
Or maybe one of The Boys is a member of the bad joke club. I know this is the source of most of my eye rolling when it comes to Jim. Sure the jokes were funny the first one hundred times, but after that I would roll my eyes even in front of President Obama if Jim told one of his punny jokes or offered his much-repeated wisdom on horse’s asses.
We are told that eye rolling is one of the worst things for your marriage. Especially if you sigh and spin while doing it. OK, I made some of that up. But seriously, eye rolling is a big no-no.
Unless it’s for a serious offense like the ones listed above. Married people cannot be perfect all the time. And eye rolling seems pretty tame compared to some of the things human beings can do to one another.
Poor Michelle Obama. Let down your guard and all the world begins to comment. I bet she can’t wait for the next four years to be over.
*For the record, I think John Boeher probably excels at the “I’m not touching you game” and wouldn’t hesitate to play it at a political dinner.
How the heck did it get to be mid-January already? The year is 1/24 over, people! It’s time for a resolution check-in!
Except I don’t do resolutions. I don’t do goals. But this year I got the idea to have a word of the year. (I can’t remember which writer I got this from, but if you do, let me know!) And my word is love.
I think that if we approach the world in general with an attitude of love, we can make a difference in a lot of lives. This means being cognizant of how we treat the people around us: family, friends, acquaintances, people who serve us, etc. Sometimes we’re good with our treatment of one group of people but not so great with others. I want to treat everyone with love.
Love can be shown through politeness and helpfulness. It can be shown with genuine interest and caring. It can be shown with a smile or a kind thought in passing. Compliments show love when given genuinely. Love can make a chore bearable. I hate dusting. But if I think about how I am taking care of things I love (the furniture and knick knacks I choose to have in my home) and the people I love (by giving them a clean, pleasant living environment) it makes dusting a nice chore to engage in.
When I mentioned my word for the year, someone else told me how they have a word of the month. I think I can add some extra words to my year.
We live in such negative times with such societal, environmental, and economical unrest that we should do what we can to make our little corners of the world nicer places to be in. It’s a word. It’s an attitude. It’s a change.
If you choose a word for the year, what will it be? How will you live your word? What will you do with it?
You might remember when I declared myself a brave brave woman because I went completely grey. I stayed that way for over a year. The thing is, that while I had two patches of cool white hair, the rest of my hair was the color of corrugated pipe. Have you ever ever heard someone declare they ever wanted to look like corrugated pipe?!
Of course not! Mottled grey is not an attractive nor becoming color on anyone.
I had to switch hair dressers when the last one took liberties with my hair cut. Yup, she looked at the proposed picture and instead cut my hair into the requisite old-lady short pixie cut. Which was fine a year earlier when I wanted the color cut off. But as a real-life pay money and pretend to like it hair cut? No way!
So I slunk off to South Elgin to visit a stylist recommended by Kelly and her daughters. But she no longer worked there and instead, I was gifted Bobby Berry, The Hair Whisperer. This guy knows his stuff.
I let him give me a few hair cuts. The second one he asked, “what are we going to do about this color?” I was strong. I resisted.
But I started thinking. Because it just wasn’t working for me. Maybe if I had great hair that was all white it would be different. But, you know, corrugated pipe…
Last time I said, “color me” and we went with a nice color. Jim’s face when he saw it was priceless–and worth having it done. Apparently my husband is also not a fan of corrugated pipe grey. But he’s to nice to say anything! Gotta love him!
This time I gave him carte blanche with the cut and went a little darker and funkier with the color. Oh, yeah, red is back! I love it! The color and the cut are both perfect!
And, Bobby Berry…he declared me a “big ball of fabulous!” I’m so keeping him! And he loves nuns!
OK, kids, I’ve been thinking.
This is the phrase that sends chills down Jim’s spine. Usually because I’ve been watching HGTV and have an excellent idea for our home or garden that he will need to implement. Hey, it’s not my fault my hands hurt!
But this idea requires cooperation from all of you, your family, and your friends. We need to boycott Black Friday. Not the whole day, but we need to stay home until at least 6am on Friday, November 23, 2012.
If people stay home, stores will have no reason to open at incredibly ridiculous hours. If stores don’t open at incredibly ridiculous hours, employees won’t have to report for work at even earlier incredibly ridiculous h0urs. We are not lemmings. We can wait a few hours for fake deals.
This weekend I was with friends. They will be staying home on Thanksgiving because one of them works for Walmart and has to be at work at 7pm to get ready for their early opening for Black Friday–which is happening at 10pm the night before. She doesn’t get time and a half. She doesn’t get any extra compensation. She gets to work her shift, plus extra hours to accommodate the crazed masses that will swarm the store for Black Friday (or would it be Gray Thursday?!).
An internet friend is upset because he husband works for a retailer that has decided to compete with the big stores, and will be opening late on Gray Thursday also. Instead of going into work a few hours early on Friday morning, he will be reporting to work Thursday evening. Again, he will work his usual shirt plus extra hours.
Are the sales really that incredible that you need to shop in the middle of the night? Personally, I think they offer limited sub-par goods at insane prices to lure you in. You’re there, you’ll spend because you are. But if you wait a few more weeks, you might actually get a real deal on a quality product.
Do you like going out in the middle of the night? Then go to a business that’s already open. Those employees work that shift intentionally.
Or you could consider a new plan for the holidays. Do we really need to have so many material things? I like the idea of giving experiences. Gift cards to a nice restaurant, tickets to a museum, the movies, or a play would be nice. Services like baby sitting, house cleaning, yard work, or snow shoveling would help someone out.
I don’t want to take away Christmas. I just want us to give it and the presents we give to have more meaning.
Today is Jim’s birthday. I met him at his birthday party, married him a year later, and now here we are, sixteen birthdays later.
I’m the lucky one. I am married to the funniest, most sane man I’ve ever known. He works hard. Is sensible.
He makes me laugh harder than anyone else I know.
He’s been a dedicated dad. He’s coached baseball, soccer, basketball, and floor hockey. He’s been out there in the snow and the heat.
I thank God for him every day!
Happy Birthday, Jim!
This past weekend our nephew got married and it was a Pinterest masterpiece! I am envious that the couple had a place to get such cool ideas for their wedding.
The wedding took place at a historical mansion in Joliet, Illinois. The grounds were gorgeous. The mansion was old and gorgeous. The ceremony was on the lawn and the first thing I caught sight of was the sign requesting that people sit anywhere because guests were there to support the couple, not just one half of it. Of course, I was the only one who actually read the sign and had to go head to head with grandpa-in-law in our refusal to move to the “groom’s side.” Can’t people just follow instructions?!
The flowers along the aisle were similar to things seen on Pinterest. Very simple and elegant. The bridesmaids’ hair styles and even one’s colored strands looked straight from the boards of Pinterest. The tables were numbered with facts about the couple. Number seven where we were seated let us know that the couple had gotten engaged on August 7, 2010.
The “cake” was a tier of cupcakes. Seriously, I had the best red velvet cupcakes with the best cream cheese frosting ever! Yeah, I ate two!
Instead of goody bags/gifts for each couple, guests could make their own bag of what was once known as penny candy. I tried to entertain my nephew with gummy bear tendons, but the gummy bears wouldn’t cooperate! It just further enforced his opinion that I am a crazy old lady. It’s a role I embrace quite enthusiastically.
When I pointed out to the bride that it was a wonderful Pinterest wedding, she was excited someone noticed. Then she kindly pointed out that Jim and I were so cute in our matching outfits.
Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Kline showed up for the nuptials dressed for the junior prom. I bought my dress months ago and realized the week before the wedding that the shirt I had picked for Jim matched. But it was to late to do anything about it. Yes, our outfits also matched my glasses. I really like teal…
I’m really jealous of the bride and want to have a wedding re-do with all the cool ideas from Pinterest! Have you seen pins in action?