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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Remembering grief and sadness

I feel as though I’ve had quite a few “heavy” posts lately, and I don’t mean to dwell on sadness. But today, there’s sadness that can’t be ignored.


For as long as I live, no matter where life takes me, I will never forget the meaning of this date. In the future, it could mark many things—a wedding anniversary (for two friends of ours who are tying the knot today), a birthday, and who knows what else. But it will always, no matter what, be the day we lost Sean’s dad.

Not long after he died I set out to write the story of those two days, if for nothing else but to remember the 24-hours that changed our lives forever (as though I could actually ever forget them). I’m not sure I’m ready to share that story—let alone read it again myself—but it’s a small reminder of the days as I lived them.

I can’t tell the story through Sean’s eyes, and not through his brothers’ or his mom’s either. I can’t for a second imagine what those days were like for them, nor can I pretend that there are any words in my vocabulary that would bring justice to the sheer devastation, pain, shock, and disbelief that those days brought upon their family.

But I can recall what it was like for me. And I promise you it was among the very worst days of my life.

As soon as I started dating Sean I was welcomed into his family as though I was one of their own, and I’ve always been honored to be a part of it. So from the minute I received the frightening call from Sean announcing that his dad was being taken to the hospital, to the moment I walked out of the hospital and into the sunlight for the first time 24 hours later, I was dizzied by the tragedy happening around us.

I had witnessed life change before my eyes, crying and screaming and getting physically ill at the thought of it. I had watched God take from us one of the most incredible people we’ve ever known. I had said goodbye. What’s worse, I had watched Sean, his brothers, and his mom say goodbye to their patriarch, their rock, and their best friend.

I sometimes forget what life was like before that day. It may sound a bit overdramatic, but when someone so close to you dies so suddenly, it’s blindsiding. So as we move forward (or at least attempt to, because there are certainly days where it feels as though that’s the last direction we’re heading), we search for the ability to cope in our own ways and to remember this man who was special to so many people.

Because I only knew him for the four years Sean and I had been dating at the time, I love hearing stories of the husband, father, and friend he was to so many people in his 48 years of life. From what I can tell—from my own experiences and the genuine love and affection everyone felt for him—he was one of a kind. He was a gifted architect (and as his youngest son so eloquently put it—a true artist in this capacity). Someone who reveled in helping others and getting involved, whether by playing with all the neighborhood children, serving on committees at church and school, or coaching sports teams. A loyal friend who could often be found on a golf course or at a social event with his closest friends and co-workers. And of course a family man who deeply loved his wife and children and worked hard to provide for them, care for them, and support their successes. 

He was all of this—but so much more, too. There simply aren’t enough words to do him justice.
                                                                                                                     
So while we probably can’t help but think of the darkness of this day 2 years ago, we can also use this day to remember him. We will cry. We will be sad. But we’ll also smile as we think of his humor, his smile, and his simple presence, all things we would give our left arm to have back again. More than anything, today my heart is with those who loved him most. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding: Did you watch?

Leading up to this much-hyped Royal Wedding I didn't pay much attention at first. I read a news story here and there, caught a few television reports speculating everything from the gown to the guest list. But as it drew nearer, my interest grew a little.

I wasn't alive to witness Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding, but I vividly remember being captivated by Princess Diana's funeral nearly 14 years ago. Like millions of people around the world, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the coverage of her beautiful farewell.

It was then that I really became aware of the royal family, especially the young princes who were so close in age to me. I remember having a bit of a "celebrity" crush on Prince William. So as his wedding day approached, I got curious.

And who doesn't love a good wedding? Especially one with as much fanfare as this one!

{Via CNN}

I didn't set my alarm to catch every minute of the affair (but I did DVR the coverage in case I wanted to go back and see some highlights). But when Sean's alarm went off just before 6 a.m. (I'm off work today so was planning to sleep until I felt like getting up), I decided to turn the TV on to see how it was going.

Of course I was instantly hooked. It was the end of the ceremony, but I loved seeing her beautiful gown, catching glimpses of the guests (and their outrageous hats), and following their journey to Buckingham Palace. And I may or may not have shed a tear or two.
I think Kate, or more officially, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, looked stunning. I loved her dress!

{Via CNN}

So what about you? Did you pay attention to the Royal Wedding?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

If you give a mouse a cookie...

Do you ever feel like once you give in to one thing, it's so much easier to keep giving in to more?

While it's not quite the same theme of the popular children's book, I had "If you give a mouse a cookie" on the brain today as I bit into an unnecessary (but delicious!) afternoon treat.

{Via}
Because if you give this girl a cookie, she's only going to want some more!

I've mentioned a little before that I'm somewhat of a recovering overeater. After high school I packed on quite a few pounds. I carried that extra weight around for years before I finally realized I was OVER IT. Over the huffing and puffing with the slightest bit of exercise. Over the growing number on the tag of my clothes. Over the reflection I saw in the mirror, no matter how many times I tried to tell myself it wasn't as bad as it seemed.

So I got to work. By re-learning the basics of healthier eating, adjusting my habits, and making exercise a very regular part of my routine, I lost over 60 pounds.

I know that I'll never go back to the lifestyle I was leading when I was heavier. I've learned from those mistakes. But that doesn't mean that I don't have days every now and then (or more, it seems lately) where I give in, making choices that won't be found in any healthy living cookbook.

And they say everyone deserves a "treat" every once in a while. I get that. I agree. But it's a slippery slope I tell 'ya!

Because one "bad" decision makes it a lot easier to make another. Having half a cookie mid-afternoon, prompted largely by the stress of a busy day, only makes you want to go back for the other half.

I'm happy to say I didn't give in to the other half today. But I did have the first half. And I did pop a handful of jelly beans while cooking dinner. The more I spoil the sweet tooth, the more it hungers for, well, more.

So when I give in sometimes, and usually end up feeling guilty and regretful, I also look at it as something to learn from. It probably wouldn't take much to slip back in to the "ease" of not caring about what I eat, how much I eat, or how much (or rather, how little) I get my ass to the gym. But I hated that life. And having seen the other side for almost 2 years now, I have no desire to go back.

So I'll keep taking it one day at a time. I'll try and remember to lean on the "tricks" for avoiding emotional eating. I'll continue to wake up at the crack of dawn and drag myself to the gym before work. I'll forgive myself for the less-than-wonderful choices. I'll try and do better next time. No one said it'd be easy, but they said I'd be a changed woman. And I can promise you I am.

Do you ever struggle with making "good" choices (food, exercise, etc.)? What do you do to keep going, even when it's hard or when you slip up?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend Recap

This weekend had its ups and downs, but overall it was a nice one. Let’s focus on the highlights:

Friday
  • Started the softball season. Despite rain, cold temps, and being short 1 guy, we had lots of fun and even won our second game!
  • Chatted with friends over cheese pizza and garlic bread after softball.
  • Fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow—before 10 p.m.!
Saturday
  • Went to the gym, showered, and did the grocery shopping all before 11 a.m.
  • Took a long walk (over 2 hours!) with two of my best friends, and stopped by another friend’s house along the way.
  • Sean and I had dinner at our favorite local burger place.
  • Saw “Water for Elephants” with my friend Molly.
Sunday
  • Got up early and baked mini cinnamon rolls for Easter brunch and angel food cake for Easter dinner.
  • Went to mass with my mom, brother, and sister (and visited with my aunt, uncle, and cousins for a bit afterward).
  • Made brunch and ate with my family and Sean, who was working and stopped over on his lunch break.
  • Saw “Hop” with my mom and sister.
  • Had Easter dinner with Sean and his family.
I’m not a big fan of Mondays and this Monday has me in a bit of a funk. But the week ahead looks pretty bearable, especially because I have Friday off work. I love my job, but it’s nice to have a break from time to time.

So onward and upward, that’s my goal. How was your weekend?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Books that become movies

I love to read. When I was in college I rarely picked up a book that wasn’t required for one of my courses, but as soon as I graduated that all changed.

Like many people who work in downtown Minneapolis, I ride the bus to work. It’s a quick 20 minute commute that gives me a great opportunity to relax before and after work. This arrangement makes for perfect reading time, too. There are times where I can finish an entire book (or more) in just a single week’s worth of bus rides.

In the last few years alone, I’ve easily read upwards of a hundred books. Today, I got to thinking about books that become movies. Some books are simply better off being left to the written word, but some movies can really bring a book’s personality to life.

I almost always insist on reading the book in its entirety before seeing the movie. This usually leads to me getting annoyed by little inconsistencies, lack of detail, or changed plot lines. Just by the nature of their delivery, books and movies are difficult to make completely parallel. But, I still love reliving the story, finally putting real faces with names, witnessing the emotions I internalized as I read it page by page.

Here are a few of my favorite book + movie combinations:

The Last Song

Dear John

The Notebook

The Secret Life of Bees

Twilight


And these two that I'm SO excited for. Loved both books and can't wait to see the movies:

Water for Elephants

The Help


This list could go on for miles! What about you? Are you a fan of books that become movies? Do you have any favorites?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tears & Laughter

It’s no secret around these parts that I believe many of my emotions are best expressed through tears. Crying is in my blood. For me, it’s the most freeing form of release when I’m sad, angry, stressed, or even overwhelmingly happy.
{Via MoxieBird}
And it doesn’t often take much to set me off.

Last night I was watching TV in our living room while Sean caught the baseball game from our bedroom. I was watching One Tree Hill. I realize this show is not for everyone, but I happen to love it. Plus, I’ve been watching it since it started 8 years ago so it’s kind of hard to break up with it now.

Anyway, this episode was full of emotions (of both the sad and happy kind). As it came to a close I found myself losing all composure and by the time the credits rolled it had turned into a full-on silent sob. There wasn’t a particular reason behind it, I was just moved. Moved by the moments happening in the fictional TV series in front of me, and moved by the thoughts and feelings it stirred up inside of me.

{Via Pinterest}
So I got up and ran to the bedroom and snuggled my head in Sean’s chest. Anyone who knows Sean knows that he’s not a snuggler, so he instantly looked at me like, “Can I help you?”

But it didn’t take long for him to notice—or feel—the tears running down my face. His reaction was the same as it almost always is, “Oh geez….what now?”

Don’t take this as him being insensitive. I’ve racked up an awful lot of frequent crier miles and this boy has put up with a lot (and most of the time, I’m crying over the smallest of things). These moments have really become almost comical in our house.

And that’s exactly what it turned into. He rolled over and looked me in the eyes while inquiring as to why the breakdown this time. But there was no real answer, no words to really sum up the random flurry of emotions. So we couldn’t help but laugh—at the ridiculousness of it, at the thought of another moment where I just needed a good cry. Within minutes the tears were gone, the laughter had settled, and the evening went on like any other.

{Via Pinterest}

I’ve always thought my favorite tears are the ones that come from laughter. But I’ve learned that sometimes, the tears that are followed by laughter are even more satisfying. Guess I should try this more often!   

{Via Pinterest}

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tune in Tuesdays

It's that time again. Another Tuesday already!


I'm a little bit late to the Adele bandwagon, but when I finally discovered her music a couple months ago, I pretty much fell in love. This particular song has been done by several artists, but I've definitely got her version on repeat. So great!

I highly recommend you check it out and enjoy!


Want to know more about what Tune in Tuesdays is all about? Read more here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Monday

We are more than half-way through April and spring is still playing tricks on us. Only problem is, these tricks aren’t funny. Snow in April? No one is laughing! I’m tired of wearing a coat everywhere I go. And I would like to drive with the sunroof open and the windows down, instead of the seat warmers on and the defrost blowing. It’s supposed to be spring! You are well past fashionably late Mother Nature, so I suggest you show up for work one of these days!

Ok – I’ll be done ranting now. The weather seems to be crazy across the country, so I should just be grateful that we had a dusting of snow instead of a string of devastating tornadoes.  

So despite the unseasonably chilly weather, we were still able to enjoy the weekend.

Saturday, after running some errands, I saw the movie Soul Surfer with my mom, aunt, and 3 cousins. I’ll be honest, the message was cute, but the acting was a little too corny at times.

{Via}
Saturday night, Sean and I went to a party to celebrate his co-worker’s birthday and wish him well on his upcoming deployment. Sean is lucky to work with some really great people, so it was fun to spend time with them.

Like most weeks, this Sunday was low key and relaxing. I went to mass, did some cleaning, made pasta salad for the week, and baked two loaves of banana bread. Sean and I tried to go to the batting cages to get some swings in before our first game on Friday, but it was busy and we decided not to wait. Instead we did some shopping and I got new cleats. I've been wearing the same cleats since I was in high school (11+ years) so I've been due for some new ones. I found a pair that were on clearance and super comfortable. Still not sure how I feel about having red ones though. What do you think?

{Via Sports Authority}
Sunday night, we had dinner with Sean's family. His mom and I took the dog for a quick spin around the block (if it wasn't so cold we would've gladly taken more than a "quick" spin). Then we headed home to finish up laundry, get things ready for the week ahead, and get some sleep. 

How was your weekend?

P.S. I have to give a big birthday shout-out to my adorable little sister! Hard to believe she’s 14 today! Happy birthday Molly Girl!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The day formerly know as Tax Day

April 15th is notoriously known for being Tax Day (but not this year!), but for me it has much more meaning. I’d like to share two of those reasons with you today.   

Let’s start with a very important birthday. Today would have been a big one for Sean’s dad – 50! I remember how much he used to love teasing Sean’s mom about how she hit all of those milestones before him (and how Sean is just like his dad in doing the same with me). I’m sure we would’ve loved celebrating this one with him—although he probably wouldn’t have felt the same about this particular birthday! He would, however, probably have boasted about not looking a day over 30 (it’s true – neither of Sean’s parents look their age). And he’d be happy to point out that hardly a single silver strand had sprouted in his still-full head of hair. It’s simply a shame that he’s not here for this.


I was blessed to have known him for only 4+ years, so I feel like any words I could offer in his memory would fall terribly short. He was a passionate man with a deep love for his family, a remarkable talent for architecture (and all things home improvement), and a sense of humor that kept us laughing on a daily basis. Happy birthday Steve-O (as the boys so affectionately called you, if only to get your blood boiling a little)! We miss you more than you could ever know.




Today also marks the day that Sean and I became homeowners. One year ago we signed what felt like never-ending amounts of paperwork and walked away with the keys to a place we could call all our own. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already—full of mortgage payments, rodent problems, and a leaking basement. But it’s also been a year full of making a house a home, meeting incredible neighbors, and setting down roots in a house and a neighborhood we both love. Sometimes we may wish we could move to Never Never Land and become Peter Pan, but looks like we’re growing up, whether we like it or not.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Learning to keep calm and carry on

If you’ve been around these parts long enough, you may have picked up on the fact that I have a little bit of engagement/wedding fever (not to be confused with Bieber fever, of which I may also be ailing, hah!). It's not always easy to admit your faults, but I'm prepared to be brutally honest with myself right now.

It’s borderline embarrassing how often I think about (or talk about) getting engaged. I’m quite surprised Sean (or anyone else in our families) hasn’t invested in a pair of earplugs yet (although he has gotten pretty good about just tuning me out).

It’s just that I’m impatient to a fault—with everything! So waiting 6+ years for my best friend to finally ask me to be his once and for all is sort of like putting a kid in the same room as their favorite candy and telling them they can’t have any. (Meanwhile, there’s a window to the room next door where some of your friends are already enjoying their favorite candy. Did I mention I have a jealousy side, too?). I’m like a child. My goodness, I’m certainly not revealing my most redeeming qualities today, am I?

But I try extra hard to:
{Via}
It’s not always easy when it seems everyone you run into asks, “are you engaged yet?” Even my hairdresser! The last time I went it she was washing my hair and suddenly blurted out, “Ok, I have to admit I totally just checked your hand!” And that wasn’t the first time. She makes me laugh.

Some weeks I’m better about calming down then others. I know that when the time is right things will happen for us, so I try to just sit back and enjoy life in the moment.

But I guess I need to try a little harder, because subtly is not my strong suit either. Last night, I went to pick up the dog from his “beauty appointment” (a.k.a. hair cut). When I left, Sean was in the shower. So when Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” came on the radio in the car, I thought it to be the perfect opportunity to call and leave a message on Sean’s voicemail. “If you like it than you should’a put a ring on it.” It was slightly well-timed because we had just been discussing the topic earlier (Shocking! Me talking about it? No way!). I was completely joking, but even jokes get old sometimes.

So really, I need to SETTLE DOWN. No man I know would want to marry a badgering crazy person. And I fear that’s what I’m turning into. So time to cure this fever once and for all. Any suggestions? Have you ever wanted something so bad you could taste it, but needed to wait patiently for it to be the right time? Maybe I should get one of these, just to remind me?

{Via}

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tune in Tuesdays



There's no real reason behind this week's lyrics, other than the fact that I think it's a great song and a great message. This song, and these lines in particular, capture things that all of us likely wish for—for our own lives and the lives of others.

So happy Tuesday!


Want to know more about what Tune in Tuesdays is all about? Read more here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Someone get this dog a valium

Another weekend gone by - where does the time go?!? My weekend was very unventful, but wonderful nonetheless.

On Friday, Sean and I stayed in and ordered one of our favorite cheese pizzas for dinner (we've had fish almost every Friday this lent and were ready for a change).

Saturday was nearly 70 degrees and the spring air was energizing. While Sean worked, I went to the gym, did some shopping (no great finds to report this time), caught up on errands and laundry, and did some spring cleaning. That night, we went to one of our favorite local restaurants, got some ice cream, and headed home for another quiet night. And that night, we were expecting our first spring storm.

{Via NASA}
When I was little, I was terrified of storms. They grew on me as I got older and now I actually quite enjoy a nice, thunderous rainfall from time to time (though I still have frequent nightmares about tornadoes, and those I could do without). 

But Oliver, my normally mellow and lovable Yorkie baby, is taking all the fun out of it for me. The dog cannot stand thunderstorms. From the minute the thunderclouds roll in, he starts shaking like a leaf. Even silent storms get the best of him. I swear he can sense the drop in barometric pressure or something.


Saturday night was no different. The clouds came running, the lightning came shining, and snoop doggie dog wasn't having it. He woke us up around midnight and climbed on top of my chest, shaking and panting in my face (did I mention he's in desperate need of a "beauty" appointment so his breath is especially raunchy right now?). I didn't even hear any thunder. The night was an endless series of ups and downs, since it's virtually impossible to sleep when he gets like that. The storm system moved through and by about 5 a.m. he finally settled down enough to sleep.

The storm left behind some humid air and gray clouds on Sunday, but also brought with it some very warm air. It was in the mid-70s! After spending much of the morning in our jammies, a brief power outage prompted us to finally get off our butts and enjoy it. With the windows down and the sunroof open, we made a trip to Ikea, where we found a dresser for our upstairs hallway.
{Via Ikea}
It's a great compromise for our space and budget (and - bonus - was short enough to let me keep the art work that's in the hallway in place). We had lunch there, too, and the food was actually very good. We finished the trip with $1 frozen yogurt cones and made our way home to put together our new furniture. We had Sunday dinner with Sean's family (turkey burgers - love that grilling season is back!) and called it a night.

Love low key weekends. Looking forward to the next one already!

How about you - how was your weekend? Do you prefer quiet weekends like ours was, or ones that keep you on the go?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Softball injuries

I was looking through old pictures on my computer and stumbled across this one. It was taken on April 8th—six years ago today. Crazy coincidence!


So what’s the story behind it, you may ask?

Well, my friends and I were gearing up for our second co-ed softball season. The spring weather was just the motivation we needed to get some practice in, so we decided to head to a local park to swing the bat and throw the ball around for a little while.

When it came Sean’s turn to hit, I offered to pitch to him. I am not a pitcher. I would be the last one, in fact, on the list of people to fill in for this position if ever needed; it’s simply not in my skill set. But since it was just practice, I thought—why not?!?

Apparently slow reflexes are why not.

I had lobbed a nice, slow pitch and before I knew it, Sean had returned a hard-hit line drive right back where it came from.

By the time I realized it was heading for me, I took a small jump in the air, turned to my right, and broke the fall of a speeding softball with the inside of my right calf.

Practice was pretty much over after that. It hurt, but the bruising was minimal at first. By the end of the day I noticed a little swelling and some red marks, but by the next morning, it was a beauty. Black, blue, green, and yellow—stretching from just below my knee to just above my ankle. What a sight it was!

This picture was taken a couple days later, so some of the bruising and swelling had gone down a bit. The ball hit me right where the bruising has turned yellow. I guess I’m just lucky it didn’t hit my knee. I have to admit, I was pretty proud of that bruise!

Now we’re starting our 7th softball season and I’m happy to report that’s the worst injury I’ve ever received. Hoping to keep that streak up this year!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Something different?

If you've been here before it's clear that something is different. Actually, a lot is different.

I felt like changing it up a bit, so I'm trying out a new design. Not sure if I'm sold yet, but let's give it a shot! Bear with me if it changes again, and again. And as always, feel free to give me your honest feedback  :)

Have a great night!

Storage advice

Ever since we moved in to our house—almost a whole year ago now—I’ve been keeping my eye out for the perfect dresser/wardrobe/cabinet/any sort of storage device to go in our upstairs hallway.

The landing at the top of the stairs is decent sized (relative to the rest of the space, I guess), so it is an ideal spot for this aforementioned piece of furniture. And since the bedrooms and bathroom that surround this landing lack significant amounts of closet space, it is also an ideal location for something that offers that solution.

Right now we have a small cabinet I once used as a nightstand about 3 houses ago (yeah, I’ve moved a lot in the last few years). On top of it being underwhelming in the d├ęcor department, it’s also just not cutting it in the function department either. I'd love for it to be be able to store a wide range of things, from spare sheets, to toiletries, to extra clothes.

But in the last 12 months I’ve yet to find the perfect solution—at least not something that meets my Pottery Barn tastes and Target (or more like garage sale) budget.

So many inspirations:

Fell in L-O-V-E with this one, but when I was done picking my jaw up off the floor from 4-figure sticker shock, I had no choice but to keep looking. {Via Pottery Barn}


So what do I do? Keep looking at ridiculously expensive, but adorable (can furniture be adorable?) options at the same store! Moving on....{Via Pottery Barn}

 
Some much more affordable options at Ikea. I like this dresser, but thinking it's a bit too small. {Via Ikea}

 
Loving this one, too, but it's just not big enough. If it were about twice as wide (and maybe had bigger drawers) it'd be perfect! {Via Ikea}


I also really like this one {via Ikea}....


...and this one {also via Ikea}. But I was really thinking something shorter. Not sure if tall is the way to go.


Which makes this one a little better of a solution (but now we're back to being not sure if it's big enough). And there goes that price again...$799. No thank you. {Via Crate & Barrel}



So then I found a similar one from Target. A bit shorter, has both drawers and a cabinet. Seems like a good compromise. {Via Target}


Yet, I still feel like I haven't found "the one." My goodness...it's a piece of furniture! Not a soulmate. If only Pottery Barn would magically reduce it's prices by say, oh about 80%. Maybe this weekend I'll venture out in search of "the one that will do because it's good enough and won't break the bank."

What do you think? Do you have a favorite? Do you ever have a crazy hard time picking something out, or is it just me?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Random thoughts

For no particular reason, today has been exhausting. Maybe it’s a middle-of-the-week thing, but I’m burnt out and ready to put on my PJs and plant my butt on the couch so that I can be mindlessly entertained by the TV.

This is not to be confused with having a bad day or being in a bad mood, neither of which is the case. I’m just tired. So while I retreat to a night of focusing on nothing more complicated than the remote control, I’ll leave you with my random thoughts from today:
  1. For the third day in a row I made my trip to the gym without—I repeat without—sweatpants over my running shorts. I’d say it’s a sure sign that spring is on its way.
  2. Today, I got on the elevator to go to another floor for a meeting at work. After a long afternoon of intense editing, my brain was on autopilot. The second I stepped inside, my mind went blank and I forgot what floor I was going to. Before I knew it, I had—in a fog—pressed every button in the vicinity of where I thought I needed to go. Guess I subconsciously decided to take the scenic route?
  3. Today, Sean called me at work just to tell me he saw ducks in the pond at the golf course in our neighborhood—and that one of them had its head under water and its butt in the air. I love random phone calls that make me smile. (And another indication that spring has arrived!)
  4. True confession: Sometimes I like thinking about plans for my wedding…and I’m not engaged! Yesterday, I picked out the reception site. Hah! Dream on girlfriend….
  5. I think I’m done putting "beauty" before comfort. I’m pretty sure the blisters on my feet will thank me.
That’s all I got. By the way, we’re half way to the weekend—whoop!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday musings

It seems to be one of those times where I've got a lot on my mind, mostly random things that have both ups and downs. One such topic is fatherhood. And today I just feel like talking about it.

So let’s just get to the point.

I don’t have a dad.

I mean, of course I do. We’re all grown-ups here and we know how babies are made, so yes, somewhere along the line I had a dad—or a father, as I prefer to say. Because to me, dad is a term better left to affectionate and loving paternal relationships—or at least ones where the two speak to each other. And in my case, we don’t. In recent years my father and I have exchanged a handful of more-or-less random emails, but outside of these occasional communications there’s been zip, zero, nada.

See, when my mom discovered she was pregnant it was not (at least at first) what one might consider joyous news. And understandably so. She was young—nineteen—and not prepared for early motherhood. But she took it in stride, because in her heart that’s what she wanted to do. I’m sure she considered all of the options. In fact, I know she did. And on that long list of choices—of directions her life could head—she chose me. 

Being a single mother was no easy ride for her—struggling to finish school, working full time to support us, being the greatest mother. But through unconditional love, hard work, and determination, she succeeded in all of it (especially the last one, in my humble opinion).

On the other hand, my father chose not to “stick around.” I won’t pretend to be able to speak to his reasons or attempts at justification. But it’s no secret that sometime in my very early childhood, he decided once and for all that he did not want to be a part of my life. He paid child support until I graduated high school, but beyond that, there was nothing. No birthday wishes. No request for photos. No “hey, how is she doing?” Not even an acknowledgment that I existed (most of the time). No matter how many times he may have thought of me all those years, this time it’s not the thought that counts. He went on to start his own family (with 3 kids who probably don’t know that, in a city not 20 miles from their home, lives a sister they may never know they have). 

But it’s a small world out there and living in the same metropolitan area, we’re all bound to cross paths with friends and acquaintances who know some of the same people. This is of course the case with people who know my father. And time and time again, I meet people who are shocked to find out that I exist, or who know who my father was but never heard him utter a single word about me. We've found ourselves in the very same room on multiple occassions—at a bowling tournament, a winter carnival event, a benefit for a mutual friend. And yet, we’ve never so much as made eye contact or spoken a verbal word.

I’d be lying if I told you it doesn’t hurt sometimes that he chose not to be a part of my life. There are plenty of times I look at friends or family members with their fathers and feel a little bit of envy or sadness. There will be no father-daughter dance at my wedding. My children will have no grandfather (something that made losing Sean’s dad almost 2 years ago even more devastating).

In the grand scheme of things its small change, because I’m blessed with an incredible mother who played the role of both parents—and did it so well. She is my best friend. And I can’t help but wonder if our relationship would be different if it hadn’t been just the two of us for so many years. And for that very reason, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happiness is...

...Daydreaming.

...Seeing a 7-day forecast with temperatures all above 40 degrees (it’s a heat wave here in Minnesota).

...Discovering Starburst FaveReds® a few months ago, and then discovering Starburst all red jelly beans last weekend. L.O.V.E.

...Being the bigger person.

...Only hitting the snooze button once because it’s Friday—and in my book, that’s a great reason to get out of bed.

...Thinking about the exciting and life-changing moments that are just around the corner for some of my favoritest friends.

...Getting a hair dryer at the gym without having to stalk someone who uses it first.

...A song popping up on your playlist that instantly takes you back to a certain memory or time in your life.


Happy Friday everyone!