Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The best things in life

So I think God, Mother Earth, the Universe, or whatever you believe in, was trying to talk to me today. Tell me how weird this is:

I was leaving work today and was taking my time walking to my car. I stopped to read a bumper sticker that said, "The best things in life aren't things." I was repeating that quote to myself as I walked the rest of the way to my car.

Then, I get into my car and turn it on. The radio comes on automatically and, I kid you not, the first words I heard on the radio were, "The best things in life aren't things." It was a song called, I'll Be Waiting, by Michael Franti & SpearHead. I've never heard the song before and of all times for me to hear it, seconds after reading the exact same message on a bumper sticker! Seriously, someone or something was sending me a message! The message was received...

I feel like there is so much in my life that I have been taking for granted lately and this was my wake up call. I get upset easily about stupid things in life, especially when it comes to the traffic I face during my commute.

But because of this amazing message I received today, I am now feeling inspired to make a list of some of the truly important people, not things, in my life.

My husband
Our amazing family
My wonderful friends
Our nice neighbors
The awesome people I get to work with every day
The awesome kids I get to see at school every day

The list could go on and on but you get the idea. So thank you, Universe, for giving me this opportunity to sit back and think about all the people in my life that make me so blessed.

There's no "we" in guys night out

So last week, Pat called to tell me that his friend from college would be coming to Cleveland for work and would be staying with us for a night. I was really excited because I love visitors! Pat went on to say that he thought it would be fun if we went to Great Lakes Brewing Company for dinner when he's there. I got even more excited because I love going out to eat and we hardly ever go out to eat during the week! Somehow, though, the communication major misinterpreted the intention of the word "we."

"What time are we going out to eat?" I asked Pat. "Well," he replied with hesitation, "when I said 'we,' I actually meant just us guys. You know, a guy's thing." I tried to play it off like I was totally okay with that, "Oh, it's just a guys thing? Okay. No big deal." But deep down, it was a big deal. I felt an overwhelming sense of rejection.

So right now, they are out to eat and drinking Great Lakes beer while I am left here by myself, eating left over Chinese for dinner. And let's face it, Chinese is never as good the next day. I am also left alone with my thoughts, wondering when I went from being the "cool girlfriend" who could tag along with the guys, to the loser wife who is left at home to take care of the kids. And we don't even have any kids, which makes it even worse. All we have is a dog, who I obviously don't take good care of seeing as he was shredding paper within moments of their departure (you can read more about that here).

Maybe he didn't want me to go because it's a Monday night and he knows they would be watching and talking about a lot of football. Hey, I can talk and watch football, too. For at least 10 minutes, anyway, before I get bored. But I can still contribute to interesting conversations, though. We could talk about the weather, relive BG memories, talk about scrapbooking, etc.

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UPDATE: The guys have been back from dinner for about thirty minutes now and all they are talking about is football, football and more football. I'm bored to tears. Just when I thought there was nothing about football left to discuss, they started talking about fantasy football. Fantasy football conversations then led to a griping session about people who plan weddings during football season. I interjected with my firm belief that weddings should always trump football. Always. They both strongly disagreed with me and suddenly I realized why I wasn't invited to dinner. And guess what? I think I'm okay with it (maybe?).

Monday, September 19, 2011

My dog ate your map

There has been a lot of speculation lately about whether or not my dog, Grady, has grown out of his "consumption phase" in which he swallows socks, underwear and all paper products. My response to this question is a very diplomatic one in which I just state facts: To the best of my knowledge, Grady has not consumed anything other than his dog food in X months. Prior to today, X meant about eight months.

I have been really careful with my response to this question because it has been too hard to tell if his eight month "remission," if you will, was a result of the fact that he has actually outgrown this bad habit or rather if it was a result of his owners doing a better job of keeping all temptations out of sight (and therefore, out of his stomach). I wanted to believe it was because he had outgrown it, but secretly, I think I knew he hadn't.

Tonight, unfortunately, Grady proved that my suspicion was correct; he has yet to outgrow this awful habit. When given the chance, he is unable to resist the temptation of consuming paper. Pat has a friend who is in town for a conference tomorrow and staying at our house tonight. When he arrived, we were reviewing his map and directions to get him to the conference tomorrow. A few minutes later, he and Pat left for dinner (I wasn't invited since it was "just the guys" - more on that in another post).

As I was sitting at the kitchen table eating my dinner of leftovers, by myself (and obviously not bitter about it), when I heard some paper ripping. I ran into the living room to find Grady destroying the directions for the conference tomorrow. As you can see by the image to your left, I caught him just in time to preserve most of the address (who needs a zip code anyway) and almost all of the map.

Grady knew as soon as I rounded the corner into the living room that he was in big trouble. He instantly went onto his back into his "submissive mode." I swear, I have never abused my animal but he sure acts like I do. He did, however, receive some verbal reprimands, but only an appropriate amount. After I got done telling him how bad he was, I told him to "go lay down" and he sprinted to the basement.

Based on the paper shreds I threw away, I think it's safe to say that Grady did not consume any of the paper he destroyed. But again, I'm not sure if it's because he has grown out of it or because he didn't have enough time. Maybe his MO is to rip the entire sheet to shreds and then consume it all at once. I don't really know. What I do know is that the next time someone asks me whether or not Grady has outgrown his "consumption phase," I have no choice but to either tell the truth or completely dodge the question. I'm leaning toward the latter... 

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm not thinking babies, but everyone else seems to be

Since the day I turned 28 (on July 24), the topic of me having a baby has been quite popular among those I know, and even those I've never met before. I'm not sure what exactly happened, but something changed when I turned 28 and suddenly people seem very concerned about when I will start to make babies.


Have you seen those Arby's commercials where they have the big logo over their head with the caption, "I'm thinking Arbys"? I can't help but feel like I've been walking around with one of those over my head except it's a big egg with a caption that says "egg supply depleting rapidly" and some warning siren that goes along with it when I walk by.

Today, one of our faculty members came to visit at work with her one month old baby. I'm not going to lie, I do LOVE holding babies. I love the way the snuggle up to you, I love the way they smell and I love watching their facial expressions, trying to imagine what this world must look like to someone so small.

When I started holding the baby, there was no one in the faculty lounge but me and the mom. Within moments of the baby hand off, no less than five people came into the lounge (one of which I've never met before in my life) and every single one of them had a comment about me with the baby. "Wow, you look pretty comfortable with that baby." "She looks like a natural, doesn't she?" Oddly, the first person to make a comment was the man I've never met. How he even knows that I don't already have a child, beats the heck out of me.

So here is my question for you: Is there really such a thing as someone who "looks like a natural" while holding a baby, or is that just something people say to women who don't have children. Or maybe it's something people say to anyone who is holding a baby that isn't crying and doesn't look like they are in danger of dropping it.

And why do you think it's so important to people, including people I don't even know, that I have a baby soon? Is it simply because everyone, including me, likes holding babies so much so that they want people to keep having them and bringing them around so they can hold them? Or is it because in a world that can often be extremely negative and harsh, babies bring some joy and happiness?

I'm not even pregnant and yet, I can already envision these same people, even the guy I've never met before, coming up and rubbing my belly uninvited someday. Add that to the list of reasons why I'm not quite ready to have a child just yet.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never forgotten

I'm laying in bed feeling sorry for myself because I'm all alone while my husband is traveling for work. I've been on the verge of tears since I dropped him off at the airport tonight. Actually, given today being the 10th anniversary of the tragedies of September 11, 2001, I have been on the verge of tears all day.

I have cried during every 9/11 commercial, during the national anthem before the football game and every time I heard a tribute song played on the radio this weekend. It has been ten years but yet the sadness of that day is still so fresh. I keep thinking about all of the women who lost their husbands that day. How absolutely devastating it must be to find your soul mate, marry them and then lose them in such a tragic way.

When I put today into context, it's impossible to continue feeling sorry for myself when I know how truly blessed I really am. I am so very lucky to have found Pat, someone who completes me and makes me happier than I ever thought I could be. I am so blessed to have married him and after six years together, still enjoy every second I spend with him. I am so blessed to have someone I love so much and miss when we are apart. I am blessed to know that we will only be apart for a short time and that he will be coming back to me. I'm blessed to know that we still have the rest of our lives together.

It wasn't until this evening that I realized how much I have been taking him and what we have together for granted. I haven't been truly appreciating him and all of the wonderful things he does for me on a daily basis, just because he loves me. How selfish I am to not fully appreciate what I have, a love that was violently taken away from so many 10 years ago (and still is today for those serving our country over seas), until I'm lying here without him.

It's not that I'm incapable of being alone. It's just that life is and always will be so much better when Pat and I are together.

Thinking of all those affected by the tragedies of September 11 and all who have found their best friends and lost them. May we never forget what happened on that day or what (and who) we are so fortunate to still have.

Friday, September 02, 2011

A for effort, F for fail

I can't believe it is September already. Where oh where did the summer go? Given falls imminent arrival, I was very disheartened to go out to my "garden" tonight only to find that I still don't have any vegetables in my first attempt as a farmer.

Can someone please explain to me how I could grow up in a farm town and go to a high school with classes titled, "Future Farmers of America" and "drive your tractor to school day," and not be able to grow ONE tomato? Granted, I didn't ever take an FFA class or own a tractor, but I thought maybe by way of osmosis I would have inherited some of those farming skills. Hypothesis incorrect.

It all started when I decided to join up with Erica @ The Gritty Girl Blog for a zucchini growing contest. I thought it sounded like fun. It also sparked an interest in me to grow tomatoes, too. Unfortunately, I waited until the end of May to plant both my zucchini and tomato seeds.

Pat (and many others) told me over and over that it would be a lot easier to just go and buy tomato plants that have already matured and then plant them, or better yet, just go to the store and buy tomatoes that someone else grew. But I've never been someone that likes to make things easier on myself and it was VERY important to me (the stubborn person that I am) to be able to say that I grew them from "scratch."

There were a lot of different opportunities to win in the zucchini contest; most quantity of zucchini, biggest zucchini, and the most creative recipe using the zucchini. Unfortunately for me, to be eligible for any of the aforementioned categories, you must first be able to successfully grow at least one zucchini.

The contest officially ended on July 30, long before I even had a bloom. And here it is, September 2 and Labor Day weekend and still no sign of a zucchini or a tomato blossom. To add insult to injury, people continue to bring in their left over garden veggies to work for people to take off their hands. It must be nice to have an overwhelmingly large surplus of veggies that you just don't know what to do with them all.

As if that isn't bad enough, I can't even begin to tell you how much trash I have been talking throughout this gardening process. Note to self: use better judgement when thinking about bragging. Probably not appropriate to brag when trying something for the first time and/or before you have any signs that you will actually be successful.

First, I bragged about how many tomatoes I was going to have. I believe I even said, and I quote, "I'm going to have the most tomatoes in all of North Olmsted." And when people would laugh about how little my plants were in July when I should already be picking tomatoes from them, my comeback was, "You're going to be jealous when your tomatoes are all gone and mine are just starting to bloom." If only we had about two more months of summer, maybe that would prove to be true.

I also went around asking various people for zucchini recipes because I was so confident I would have more zucchini than I would know what to do with. I look forward for the followup questions from them about how the recipes turned out and what I ended up doing with my "zucchini surplus." At this point, I'm not above lying.

Pat, trying to comfort and console me, told me that he gives me an A for my effort. I practically slaved over those tomatoes all summer long. But an A for effort has gotten me a big fat 0 amount of fresh vegetables. He also tried to tell me that this is a learning process and that I can use what I've learned this summer to do better next year, yada yada yada.

That all went in one ear and out the other. Instead, I'm thinking about what I can replant my tomatoes in so I can bring them in our sun room and keep them warm until they blossom. Determined and persistent or ignorant and afraid to fail? It's a blurry line.

I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses, even though I totally am, but I don't think Mother Nature is completely innocent in all of this. She had a serious case of PMS this spring and just rained and rained and rained and it wasn't until the end of May that it was even close to being dry enough to plant anything. She's up there on my s#&t list.

Truthfully, though, I did learn a thing or two from this process. I learned that I need to plant my seeds MUCH sooner and that it's probably not best to even mention having a garden to anyone until after I've picked at least one vegetable from it. Here's to next year....