Saturday, June 28, 2008

Farewell for Grandpa Byerly

For once, this post will be short and sweet. The pictures speak for themselves.

My Grandpa Byerly passed away on June 20th, 2008.

Although I am one of the only family members that is missing his memorial service in Minnesota today, I would like to share with them (and the blogosphere!) some of my memories related to Grandpa Byerly.

He was a war veteran, soul mate to Marge, father of 6, and grandfather of 11.

We really weren't as close as some children are to their grandparents, but this was mainly due to the fact that we lived 10 hours away. They were quite close to many of the other grandchildren that lived nearby. I developed a sort of fantasy world related to my paternal grandparents, based on the brief snippets of time that I spent with them. Looking back, some of these thoughts are hilarious! Maybe the rest of the family will get a kick out of hearing them too.

Grandpa's tattoos were fascinating, and I never really understood where they came from.
I always just assumed he was a rebel. Probably because he owned a motorcycle, and I didn't know anyone else that owned one. Ergo...he must have been in a biker gang. Duh. So obvious!

When we went up to visit them, he would take me outside and show me around their ultra-cool terraced back yard, or let me poke around in their basement filled with fish tanks and plants.

Grandpa and Grandma frequently sent me packages when I was very little, and I distinctly recall the following items:
a tape of the song Music Box Dancer that I would twirl around to for hours in our basement
maple sugar candy
"Lollies" - sweet tart-like pops that you can't find anywhere these days

It is clear to me where my daughter's red hair comes from. Grandpa's nickname was "Red".

He always wore bolo ties like this one.

Somewhere along the line Grandma told someone that we could just call them "Len & Marge".
Which made them instantly cool, because calling adults by first names was taboo.

I remember that he always smelled like cigarettes and chewing gum, and his whiskers ticked me when I gave him a kiss. When he'd let me go after a hug or kiss he would always say "ok then" and seem a little bit embarrassed at the affection. But I could always tell that he was pleased.

He had a series of chihuahuas that worshiped him shamelessly.

He loved his wife more than anything in the world and was very dependent upon her.
His world seemed to fall apart after Grandma died. It was heartbreaking for everyone to see.

Grandpa and Grandma often appeared to be free spirits to me.
They traveled to nearly every major park in the West, often taking their young children with them. Every winter they took their camper to the southwest (no, not an RV, a tiny little camper that they nicknamed the "Tartarus" after the ship on Dr. Who).
One year when I was around 6 yrs old, they stopped by to visit us in Missouri. When I went out to their camper they showed me all of these interesting items that they picked up during their travels:
a "shrunken" head (probably picked up at some silly tourist shop)
a tiny plastic toy slot machine (picked up in Nevada)
dried habanero chiles
large pieces of turquoise that they purchased in Mexico

How exotic were these people? Seriously, right then and there I decided that they were obviously witch doctors. Or outlaws on the run. Or that Grandpa was really Willy Nelson.
I'm sure I probably told some wild stories to my friends based on these assumptions!

Above all, I am grateful to my grandfather for raising such a wonderful man, who went on to become my Darling Dimpled Daddy, and my daughter's "Poohpa".
I know he is sad today, and I am sad for him.
So many of my father's interests can be directly traced back to activities that he did with his parents: his love of nature, biking, backpacking, gardening, and photography.

Much love to all of my family! I miss you all bunches today!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Homemade Baby Food Tutorial

I have been promising this post for a while, right?
So WHY on EARTH, would anyone make their own baby food rather than using the neat little pre-packaged items from Gerber? Let me preface by saying that I'm not crunchy-granola Mommy. Although I want to learn how to make things from scratch, it just isn't in the cards right now. So brownie mix and protein bars are currently a staple in my cabinet.

Back to why:

1. I really like to know exactly what is in the food that we eat, and the idea of Hania eating baby food that was older than she was made me really nervous. Of course there are all kinds of vitamins in Gerber products, but have you tasted their meat combos lately? Bleeech! We have cut down significantly on the processed foods that we eat since I became pregnant, and I can tell a difference in the way that I feel. I'd like to start Hania out with that same premise.

2. It saves MONEY! All joking aside, if you know me in real life you are most likely aware that I am slightly CHEAP. Now I love giving gifts and my daily Starbucks fix will be difficult to give up, but I'm always appalled at how expensive our food bills are. When I started buying baby food every week, it finally occurred to me that the ingredients are the same things that our family already eats for daily meals. When you factor in the 10 for 10$ deals on frozen organic veggies, or super deals on items around holidays, it actually works! I'm participating in something called Frugal Tip Fridays, hosted by Sherri at Kaysville Momma. Go check it out every Friday for new frugal tips!

3. I am probably overcompensating for the fact that I closed the Breastaurant at month 5. I intended to breastfeed for much longer but stress basically but the kibosh on that plan! So yep, Mommy-guilt probably factors into this too. Doesn't it always?

4. Hania LOVES the combos we've come up with, and doesn't really like pre-made baby food that well any more. From what I've read, it is likely that if she is introduced to a wider variety of foods and spices early on, that she will be a less picky eater. Here's hoping!

5. Somewhere in the process it became FUN! And EASY! Just seeing my freezer stocked full of healthy, homemade baby food makes me want to do an interpretive dance of joy! See? I'm doing a piroutte into a grande jete, followed by tripping over a cat and falling down. That's how we roll around here.
If you look below, this is basically all you'll need:
ice cube trays
blender or food processer
annoyed looking cat (optional)
dirty dishes (optional)

No one accused me to being a photography genius, okay?

The directions are basically the same for every food:
Steam or boil any foods that are too hard to mash. Put it all in the blender and blend until you reach the desired consistency. Freeze in ice cube trays covered in wax paper, then pop out and store in freezer bags for up to two months.
Follow your pediatrician's directions on how soon to start certain foods, and always introduce new foods individually for 4 days to ensure that there is not a food allergy.

Of course Hania eats each of the individual fruits and veggies, but the combos are where it becomes much more fun. Here's a list of the various combos that we've done. We add yogurt or cereal to them to change the consistency. Hopefully it will give someone good ideas on how to spice up their baby food!

Mango peach blueberry
Mango pineapple banana
Blueberry pear (a favorite!)
Raspberry peach
Pumpkin applesauce
Pumpkin banana w/ cinnamon & nutmeg
Pumpkin peach
Avocado brown rice
Broccoli, brown rice & cheese (a favorite!)
Broccoli & chicken w/ curry
Green beans & white potatoes w/ oregano
Carrots w/ ginger
Carrots, beef & applesauce
Turkey, sweet potato & acorn squash
Turkey, apricot & brown rice
Chicken & prunes (a favorite!)
Sweet potatoes & lima beans (I know, gross combo...)
Spinach & chick peas w/ garlic
Cauliflower, chicken, chick peas w/ curry
Peas w/ mint
Red potatoes w/ rosemary
Zucchini w/ basil

Any other ideas for combos? I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Welcome to Roots & Wings!

So...what do you think? I am officially Blogalicious! Thanks to Staci and Stephanie for making all of my blog designs dreams come true! If you are interested in a new design, I highly recommend their services. They were extremely professional, and although it is likely that I drove them crazy as a highly-demanding-princess-of-a-first-paying-client, they were so sweet and developed exactly what I was hoping for.

This post will be a little intro to my bloggy world, just in case you are new here!
I'm sure everyone is losing sleep asking themselves "Why Roots & Wings?" What happened to "And Hania Makes Three?" Or not.

I truly love the quote that is written in my header, and it seemed fitting for this blog.
Most of what I write about is related to funny stories from my past (ROOTS) or funny stories about my evolution as a new mother and my ongoing suburban drama (WINGS). Aaaaah, get it now? So I asked the Blogalicious genius duo to design something that incorporates my love of nature, with some whimsical elements. Yep, you heard me...I said "whimsical". Which is basically another way to say "flighty", "easily distracted by too many years of multi-tasking" or "wants to have a very large margarita but is so busy that it took she and her girlfriends 2.5 months of planning to actually have a girls night out". Who's bitter? Who's stressed? Not me. After September, NOT ME sucka'!

And about comments... I have spoken with several folks that I know IRL (that's IN REAL LIFE - uh oh, I don't think you're supposed to use text message slang if you're over 30) and they said that they don't leave comments because they don't have a blogger sign in. Here's the beautiful thing - you don't even have to! Just leave a comment and write your name at the end! Or if you choose to create a blogger sign in, it doesn't commit you to doing a blog (although I highly recommend it, as blogging is very therapeutic).

Did anyone notice that my "About Me" section has been blank for a week? That's because I really don't know where to begin. Not that I'm that interesting, it's just difficult to summarize yourself in a teensy little paragraph. Or maybe I'm secretly afraid that I'm just another mommy-blogger that won't stand out from anyone else. But putting all that aside, I plan to just use this space as an opportunity to do the following things:

1. Express the thoughts that race through my head on a daily basis. (To those of you who are clinically minded, NO, they are not "racing thoughts" per se. Unfortunately I don't think the meds are gonna' help this girl!)

2. Document the everyday beauty and drama of my life as a new mother, especially during my transition to stay at home mom. I hope that this blog will serve as documentation for Hania later on down the road that her momma was "keepin' it REAL!" Maybe during her first year of motherhood she will be able to break it out and see that it wasn't always sunshine and roses on a daily basis, and that is is a-okay to still be figuring things out as you go along.

3. Make you laugh your heinie off or at least hard enough for coffee to shoot out your nose. Yes, that made the top 3 goals. Although I am a definite introvert, I LOOOOVE to make people laugh. I believe that my life experience as a social worker, or growing up in a small town, or attending college at Catholic Disneyland as a non-Catholic, or marrying a Revolutionary War fanatic could possibly provide a few stories that you could get a kick out of.

And in the spirit of LETTING GO and just ENJOYING the experience of blogging....I'm going to do something really wild and crazy. Ready?
NOT edit. NOT spell check (although I am quite the spelling bee champ from back in the day). NOT worry if it was coherent. NOT be concerned if I offended anyone. NOT be anything other than a whimsical girl writing a blog....with a kick-butt new design!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Really, I'm not psycho

Perhaps that might not have been the best post to write, and then drop off the face of the earth, huh? Several things:

1. I'm okay. Tired, yes. Need a margarita, yes. Psycho, not officially.

2. You're okay. (Just thought we'd have a little affirmation moment while we're all here together)

3. I'm seriously over-committed this week between a huge work audit, church meeting (ok ya'll, you can stop laughing...really, I mean it. Yes, the heathen not only goes to church but serves on a committee. I am fully aware of the hilarity of this situation, it's NOT lost on this girl!), attempting to clean/organize home before in-laws arrive, and spending time with the fam. What does this mean for you, you ask? No blogging until Friday at least.

4. I am leaving my job in September. Lest you think that I'm just someone that gripes and doesn't do anything about it, I felt like I needed to let you know. What does this mean for you?
More blogging genius, for sure!

5. If you want to see what we were up to over the weekend but I've been too tired to compose my thoughts on, check out Kimberly's blog about the bread-baking extravaganza. How cute is she? And brilliant. And talented. And we're going to miss her terribly when she moves to Salt Lake City, but thank goodness she's now blogging so we can keep up with one another!

6. There is a MAJOR blog makeover on the way! Thanks to the girls at Blogalicious (genius, I tell ya'!) it is looking better every day and it might be ready by the weekend!

6. I always keep a list (several, actually) on hand so that I don't forget everything that is going on in my head. This is what my "to blog about" list currently says:
home made baby food
church committee hilarity
red pepper, english cucumber, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes (oops, mixed the lists, that one is for the Greek salad I was making!)
Why do they make tank tops for babies if they don't have shoulders?
the need to dance
recipe for Mom's apple pie with apricot brandy (can't hold that one back from the world!)

Please check back this weekend and you might see something more interesting that just my lists!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Who raised you people?

Just a question that is on my mind this week. And it just happens to apply to the majority of the people that I work with and/or supervise.

Who raised you...
to believe that you could get paid to do nothing?
to think that is is okay to try to intimidate me just because I'm nice 90% of the time?
to understand that lying is an acceptable alternative to taking responsibility for your actions?
to be entitled to the point of taking advantage of a company "just because you can"?
to think that excellent performance = a reason to "reward" that individual with more work and no raise in sight for the next year?

We work on behalf of children in need. Sick children. Hurting children. Badly-behaved children who desperately need good examples of functional adults. Hope they aren't watching too closely, because if so, they might be in trouble. This is obviously a problem that spans generations, races, and geographic areas, because our agency represents them all.

It seems that I have some very big decisions to make. I understand that God doesn't give us more than we can handle, but hopefully he is also giving us the ability to use our heads to determine when the fight is no longer worth fighting, and if there are better places for us to utilize our energy and talents.

Oh yes, and who raised the lady at Kroger who side-swiped my grocery cart that contained a sleeping baby? This is not a Nascar event. You do not need to travel at high speeds down the pasta aisle. The alfredo sauce is not going to jump off the shelf and engage you in a game of will be there when you arrive at a reasonable speed. Don't think that I believed you for a minute when you said AS YOU HIT MY CART: "Oh sorry, hope I didn't bother the baby." If you see there is a baby, perhaps you should stop the cart. There are no breaks involved, just your feet. No option for failure, as you appeared to be able-bodied.

And as you careened towards me in yet another aisle, apparently your mother didn't raise a dummy, because you stopped just short of my cart as I said to you "If you're smart, you won't hit my cart again." Can you believe that came out of my mouth? And to a woman that was rockin' a she-mullet? That is not my style. But there is something about being a mother that makes you feel just a little bit 'bout it 'bout it.

Thank you for allowing that rant. I'll be back to my appropriate and cheerful blogging persona tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So THIS is what you do at work

I'm experiencing some serious bloggers-block. Perhaps because "life" is just getting in the way, but really, isn't life supposed to be lived in the moment? The fact that life has become blog-fodder is just secondary. I love being able to share my silly day to day events with you, though!

So I present, without further ado....Ebony & Ivory!

They've made other appearances together on the blog, and I'm afraid that they will become SO famous that they'll pack it up and leave their mamas to do a traveling tour for Oprah, Regis and Kelly, and Rachel Ray.
Maybe we should limit their exposure? (Nah, Hania's mommy likes Ann Taylor Loft and Arial's mommy likes Von Maur, so we'll see where their celebrity leads financially before we decide to cut off the mini-celebs!) Here they are: 8 months and 10 months. Two little monkeys that love to prevent us from accomplishing our work. Actually, as I've said before, we still get an amazing amount accomplished for having two babies in the office. Now if only others could use the same excuse...ahem...

(please note that Ivory - aka Thickalicious - is actually the younger of the two. The child can eat. There is a post coming on that this week.)

Hope that is a good dose of baby cuteness, and I will try to return to story-telling and sagas very soon.

In the meantime, you need to check out this post by Kat at Sunshine & Lemonade about "totstitutes" and the ongoing saga of trying to find appropriate clothing for her daughters. You will roll on the floor it is so funny!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Who wants a new blog design?

Those wild and crazy SITS girls are running wild again, hosting another contest!!!
(can't you just picture them literally running wild, laptops in hand, giving items away
generously, like a couple of little mini-Oprah's? I can. And it makes me giggle.)
The WINNER will receive a custom blog header or a pre-made blog design
Have you seen Shannon's designs? Well, let's just say they are to die for....
She is so creative! Each and every blog design that I've browsed through is unique, and gives the blogger a personalized place to write the next great American novel...or mommy drivel, like I do!
So this is why I need to win:
See, I have a conundrum. That's the word of the day.
See, I've already committed my undying love and future blog design to Blogalicious Designs.
They have gorgeous designs as well (and those Texas girls know how to do it up right!) but we'll do another post on them later... My blog needs a MAJOR overhaul, right? Since when does neon represent anything about me? Don't answer that.
BUT I have a lot of friends that would love to have a new blog design to kick off
their summer posts, and IF I won, I would run a contest to give away this fabulous prize!
I know it's a random contest, but please please please pick me!
And go check out Eightcrazy Designs today!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Pooh in the pool

This might be the only case in which it is appropriate to have
"POOH" in your pool!

(to catch some of you up...our daughter's nickname is "Pooh")We took Hania-Pooh to our neighborhood pool today, and it is official:
She is going to be a Fishy-Pooh!

This was her first experience swimming!

She loved the water, and spent most of the time splashing and kicking.

She especially enjoyed laying on her tummy, and being pulled along.

Is it possible for hair to be ANY more red?

I crown thee, Princess Pooh.
Gentle Ruler of Kingdom Swim-Diaper.
Whoever invented those things is a genius...pure genius!

Here's wishing you a week without any Pooh in your pools!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Slacker Mom

Excerpt from Friday morning...
Dog-daddy: Hey, we're out of Keira's ultra-hypo-allergenic dog food. I'll pick some more up
Dog-mama: How much did she have?
Dog- daddy: About half of what she normally does.
Dog-mama: (looking in the fridge) Well, I can give her a couple hot dogs or something.
Dog-daddy: Are those cooked?
Dog-mama: Nope, raw. But you remember eating them raw as a kid, right? I thought they
were delicious raw.
Dog-daddy: No, actually I DON'T remember that. But it explains a lot, though...
Keira-dog: gobble, gobble, gobble...gulp...smack, smack, slurp...

Sometimes as a mother you have to take short cuts and be a bit of a slacker.

Incarcerating your child in a laundry basket is no crime.
It's just working smarter, not harder.

Someone needs to call the authorities on these slackers!
(notice the 2 little teeth on the bottom...)

And sometimes we rely on Keira to be a babysitter.
We pay her in dog food...and raw hot dogs.

Here's to all you slacker moms out there...
This job is a marathon, not a sprint, so we have to conserve some energy
for the big stuff and not sweat the small stuff!

Friday, June 6, 2008

A week of "firsts"

We've had a big week around here. Lots of "firsts" for both Hania and her parents.

First time sitting in her "big girl" chair to read a story before bed time. Compare the photo at almost 8 months above, with the one at 5 days, below.

First time Hania's kitty, Crusoe, joined us for story time before bed.

First time that we noticed she is consistently sleeping on her side. And always with her caterpillar rattle and one of her bunny friends. She bunches them up in her arms before drifting off to sleep.

First time she went to the in-house day care center at the gym. We only had 30 minutes left by the time we were done doing the long and drawn-out drop off. Hania was just fine but her Daddy and I were the ones who were worried!

First time receiving a bump on her head (and the subsequent ice pack) that was Mommy's fault. Apparently dancing around and singing doesn't work when the baby has learned how to throw herself backwards. (She's fine, just a good solid 3 min of tears.)

First time going to Coldstone Creamery. Yes, this DOES count as a milestone! Especially when going with the entire Andersen family. That alone makes it an event/party!

First time eating Cheerios. She has progressed to doing the pincher grasp using her left hand, and always transfers the Cheerio to her left hand before placing it in her mouth.

First time eating meat. I made homemade baby food combos of chicken/broccoli/curry and turkey/acorn squash/sweet potato and she adores them.

Our little auburn haired girl is changing every day!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Step #9: Exhibit C - You can't make this stuff up

***I'm not sure why the font size is all over the place! I've been trying to fix it for a while and can't figure it out. Hope it doesn't detract from my lovely story! I promise, tomorrow we're back to babies and daily rambles!

We're baaaack! No worries, I haven't been seething in some dark place about Exhibit B, life has just been a bit wild between work and baby. Typically this blog doesn't get that serious, so I must apologize if it took anyone by surprise! I promise, this one is going to make your jaw drop, but thankfully, it is my last Exhibit of Proof that I attract weird people who feel the need to make amends. I give you...

Exhibit C: "Mr. Hair" aka Love child of Art Garfunkel & Albert Einstein

This had to be by far the most unexpected amends-maker. A little background, please:

Sometimes I have a habit of making it my "mission" to be nice to people who seem uncomfortable around me. Typically it is someone who is very different than myself, or someone who has a pre-formed opinion of me that is inaccurate. Sometimes it is just that they are painfully shy with everyone. Usually I am just trying to figure out WHY they're acting uncomfortable around me, and I like a good challenge. If I know WHY you don't like me, it's cool. But I have this NEED to know why people act the way they do. Enter this dude.

We'll call him "Mr. Hair" for the sake of protecting the innocent. This poor guy looks like the illegitamate love child of Art Garfunkel & Albert Einstein. I'm not trying to be cruel, just painting the scene as accurately as possible. It is freshman year of college and I think I first met Mr. Hair when we had a course together. We didn't even talk in class, and he made a conscious effort to avoid eye contact. This is a major feat in a class of only 16 people, and whenever I see him in passing on campus he absolutely refuses to speak. It is painful to watch. He is possibly the most socially awkward human being I've ever encountered. As in, you can see the internal dialogue in his head as he approaches: "Should I talk to her? Yeah, I'm, no, no! Don't know what to say! Must avoid eye contact at. all. costs! (sweat, sweat, cough, cough) Must. not. look. at. female." These awkward moments usually ended one of two ways: 1) me mumbling "hey" and smiling as we passed and he ran by with his head down, or 2) him ducking off the path before we had to pass by one another. And wouldn't you know it...he is probably one of the people that I cross paths with the MOST out of an entire undergrad population of 8,000 people. Dang. So awkward that I find myself cringing with my shoulders up around my ears just remembering it!

I promise, all of this backstory has a purpose...

So, as I said, it was going to be my mission to be NICE to him. Because NICE GIRLS make the effort to understand why people are uncomfortable around them. Plus, I'm verging on painfully shy also, so I sorta' understand what he's going through. For the next 4 years we see each other in passing, I continue to say polite hellos and get little to no response in return. Don't get me wrong, I didn't spend a whole lot of time thinking about Mr. Hair. I was livin' it up, enjoying the college experience. I just basically chalk it up to him being very shy, and possibly having a crush on me. And we ALL KNOW what the priests tell teen males is the #1 sin: impure thoughts about your female classmates!
One time junior year I end up standing directly behind him at the student union and we're both buying Swedish fish, so it seems like I pretty much have to say something. So I say something about how man, I run into you everywhere Mr. Hair! What's your major? Mine's psych, blah blah blah. Ooh, another Swedish fish fiend like me, yeah they help me get through studying for that final, blah blah. Good luck with finals buddy! He paid for his Swedish fish, turned on his heel, and RAN.

I promise....all of this backstory has a purpose!

Then I determined that I was going to stop bugging this guy by trying to force him to say hello. Who cared? He probably just was very socially awkward and obviously he hung out with a group of equally social awkward guys and seemed to have a good life going here at Notre Dame, so why did I feel the need to force him out of his shell? Who was I to take him on as a "project"? He didn' t ask for that.

Fast forward to spring of senior year. My girlfriends and I are out at the Linebacker, which is the last bar that everyone is funneled to because it is the only one open until 4am. Dancing, drinking, and general mayhem ensue, which is fairly typical when hanging with my girls. We are definitely not the most popular group of girls or anything, but we have a lot of fun together and I think we all agree that college was a great experience overall. Back to the 'Backer... I'm dancing, gettin' my groove on, shakin' it, and then who do I spot across the bar, but Mr. Hair! And he's wasted. Uh oh. And he's walking straight over to me. Double uh-oh. This should be interesting. I've never seen him in a social situation before. Or intoxicated.
Mr. Hair proceeds to dance the night away along with his group of equally socially awkward group of guy friends, who are now beginning to resemble the Night at the Roxbury guys. And he's actually talking to my friends and I and having fun! Good for him! Then he's dancing right behind me and then I feel the standard "I'm-drunk-at-the-bar-so-I-can-put-my-hand-on-your
butt-from-behind-and-you-shouldn't-notice" move. (groan! cringe!) This move is patented, right ladies? So typical, and hey, we're at the 'Backer so you really can't be too upset. Your simple presence at this place practically screams "we won't want to discuss what happens here the next morning". But this development is absolutely SHOCKING given that Mr. Hair is compelled to run in the other direction if we're coming face to face on campus. Well, well, Mr. Hair, that shot of liquid confidence was all you needed, eh? I turned around and laughed and said something to him about "oh wow, maybe I should dance where I can see your hands!" and immediately he began a barrage of apologies, groveling and apparently instant sobriety. I told him it was no big deal, really, and he shouldn't be embarrassed, and hey, now that he'd pawed my heinie he at least had to say hello in passing! His groveling continued, my reassurance continued, until finally my friends were mercifully ready to pack it in so we could end this painful and embarrassing exchange.

I don't think that I really saw him again before graduation and then I didn't think about him at all for the next 8 years.

Then I get an email though our college alumni group...
it is Mr. Hair and this is the synopsis of his email:
(keeping in mind that this is the 3rd of this type of discussion that I've had in 1.5 yrs)

Hello. This is Mr. Hair. I hope you remember me. (Look up the name in the year book to verify. Oh yes, yes, actually I DO. Especially that awkard groveling at the Linebacker that night. I wish you'd "manned up" and claimed that butt-grab because that would have been less embarrassing that the groveling.) I am at a point in my recovery (WHAT? Recovery? From what? Nerds Anonymous?) that it is time for me to make amends to all of the people that I have hurt throughout my life. (Huh?) I am sorry for anything that I have done or said that has hurt you. It has weighed on my mind for many years, and I am so very sorry. (Is he talking about the butt-grab? Puh-leez! Because if so, there should be a line around the BLOCK of guys who need to make amends for that crime! Should I hire a traffic-cop to organize the crowd control in front of my house?) I hope to hear a response from you. I hear that you are a social worker and I'm glad that there are people like you in this world.

So I email him back.

Dear Mr. Hair: I want you to know that I do not harbor any negative feelings toward you in any way. (in fact, I had completely forgotten that you existed) I'm not certain what you feel you need to make amends for. If anything, I feel badly that I obviously made you so uncomfortable when I tried to speak to you. I'm not sure why you were uncomfortable, but it was not my intention to cause you any discomfort. (of course I'm dying to ask what he's in recovery for, but chose not to pry...yeah, it's because I'm NICE.)

Why, oh why, did I have to write back?
Then the response came.

Hi Missy. I felt that my intentions toward you were always impure. (For Pete's sake! This Catholic guilt thing is out of control! You were an adolescent male. Hello?) When I couldn't look at you it was because I knew that I had the intention of having sex with you. (ewww!) I had been advised that for my first sexual experience it would be best to find someone that was very experienced, and I felt that you met the criteria. (WHAT? Presumptuous little a-hole! Apparently he was misinformed, as I was certainly NOT one of the more "experienced" girls there!) I devalued you as a person because of this, but then I started to feel bad about it because you were so nice to me. (There's that darn NICENESS again! Always getting me "devalued" and stuff!) Then I found out that you worked through the Center for Social Concerns organizing Urban Plunge and felt even worse about my intentions. (Oh, ok, so then you figured I might take you on as a CHARITY CASE or something, eh? I don't think that's what Catholic charities had in mind, buddy!) Please accept my most sincere apologies.
Mr. Hair.

Oh. My. Goodness.
What do you say to THAT?
My response was simple.

Dear Mr. Hair: I wish you well in your recovery. It is probably a good thing that I didn't understand your intentions at the time, or I would not have been NICE to you. Just to clarify, you were misinformed.

You can't make this stuff up, people!

So this is what I'm taking away from all of this:

If you are making amends to someone for something that they didn't KNOW ABOUT, is it really helpful to inform them? Or is it just more hurtful?

And did you truly mean to make amends, couldn't you just take it up with God?

So for anyone that tries to involve me in their Step #9:

Save it! I FORGIVE YOU already! I'm a pretty chilled out individual, and chances are I haven't spent every waking second thinking about it!
So save me the drama, say you're sorry to your higher power and
leave me out of it please!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Are you feelin' SAUCY?

Well, those SAUCY ladies, Heather and Tiffany are at it again!

They have created a fabulous new website that you need to check out:

The Secret is in The Sauce

It was created as a way for bloggers to network, showcase their blog, and increase their readers.

And you know what more READERS mean, right? More COMMENTS from your sistas!
Admit it, you're looking for your comments, aren't you?
It is verging on obsession, isn't it? Busted!

Want some more incentive to get on over there?

The SAUCE sistas are running a contest, including a digital camera, voice recorder,
and blog makeover! Deadline is Friday, June 6th.

Directions on how to enter the contest and how to have your blog featured
are on the site! You will discover some really great sites that just might become your daily reads! And their blog design is pink and leopard...can you beat that with a stick?

GO NOW!!!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Step #9: Exhibit B - You've got to be kidding me!

To catch you up, we're on #2 of a 3 part story. About folks from my past who all decided to come to me wanting to make amends. For being shit-heads, I suppose. Sorry, I'm trying to be NICE.
But I've had a chance to go to the happy place in my head and I'm all better now!

Exhibit B:
Much-older male friend from Texas.

This one's the REAL DEAL, baby. Workin' that Step #9. As in, emailing me from rehab.
Oh yeah.
We met while I was doing my ER-oncall-social-worker-gig and he was a paramedic. I'm not dating anyone, he is divorced. I befriended him knowing that it is platonic, because hey, I don't kiss my daddy! I think he gets this as well. Lots of laughs at 2am at work, he cooks a mean lobster, has a beautiful nomadic spirit, sweet 12 year old daughter and a mother who is a hilarious, jaded social worker that I enjoy cutting up with. Hijinks ensue and fun follows this guy...we swim with carp at the lake, drink hard cider on his roof and talk about religion, and I watch his daughter occasionally. Over time, his free spirit eventually morphs into him becoming completely absent-minded, never having money and blowing off his job. Not ideal, but he's a friend, after all, and don't we help friends when they're in need? NICE people do. All is well until boyfriend (now-hubby) and I get back together, and I think the 3 of us can hang out. We're all just friends, right? Um, not so much. Both guys see something that I don't - it isn't platonic to much-older male friend from Texas. (Note to self: Dude! Doesn't the fact I've never even kissed you lend a clue? Really? All that time just the two of us? Nothing. In denial much?) I slowly try to disengage from the friendship, and his daughter is never around anymore because school started again and she lives with mom in another city. The last time I see him is Sept 11th when he shows up at my front door for some reassurance that the world is going to be all right, and I tell him that I can't continue to see him if it isn't platonic. Never see him again. Guess I got my answer, huh?

Fast forward 7 years. He contacts me to say he is on Step #9 and feels he must make amends for "using me" and "being dishonest". I really wasn't too upset about the whole situation and it never really weighed on me. Yes, I was annoyed when he was irresponsible, but it wasn't like I was dating him or something. And yes, I wish he'd been up front about any feelings he had for me so that I could nip that shiz-nit in the bud immediately. But if he feels that his amends provide closure and assist in his recovery, then I'm supportive and accept his apology for....whatever. My goal is to live life without regrets and to appreciate every experience that I'm given.
Then the kicker: someone else is in rehab also...the daughter, who is now 18 or 19. Poor kid must've had a rough adolescence, apparently, which makes me feel bad because I still picture her as a 12 year old. She doesn't want to make amends, per say, but she has a question for me. I can't believe that she even remembers me, and I can't imagine what she wants to ask me.
She wants to know WHY I NEVER MARRIED HER DADDY BECAUSE HE TOLD HER THAT SUMMER THAT I WAS PROBABLY GOING TO BE HER NEW MOMMY. Whaaaaaat????? Words can't describe how I felt. So bad for her, so pissed at her presumptuous dad, and then I'm thinking "No wonder the dude's in rehab, because he must've been high the entire time we were friends to have come to a conclusion like that"! So I tell her that it was never like that between her father and I, and he never told me he felt that way or I would not have hung out with him, blah blah blah... a million useless words and I'm left wondering how many years she thought about that question. Still hurts my heart to this day. I pray for her a lot.

Are you wondering about my response to Much-older male friend from Texas? It was not NICE.
And if I ever move back to Texas I will explain to dear hubby that I have to see him just one time. Just long enough to sock him in the nose.

Going to another happy place.. Exhibit C is the best yet!

Step #9: Exhibit A - How cute is that?

Let me begin by saying that I am a NICE GIRL. Doesn't always make for crazy party stories, but it's true. I was raised as an only child from a NICE family, in a NICE small town, went to a NICE respectable college, had NICE jobs and even married the NICE guy. NICE NICE NICE.
I don't generally run with packs of people that are "working the steps". This is not because I am hoity-toity (is that a word, really?) but mainly due to the fact that we're all aware of my strong addictive tendencies with caffeine, Publix red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and collecting stray cats, so let's just not tempt fate, okay? My NICENESS just might spiral out of control!

That said, I have had multiple individuals over the past several years that decided it was time to contact me to complete their Step #9.

According to the handbook, Step #9 is when the individual in recovery is required to make direct amends to all persons that they have harmed, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Doesn't that just sound cleansing? a kitchen hand soap labeled "Step #9 - cucumber, freshly mowed grass, and newborn baby". Clean. Simple. Purifying.

But why, oh why, did they have to come crawling out of the woodwork all at one time?

I present to you, Exhibit A: Boy that I dated briefly from senior year of college.
(In his defense, he was not doing the 12 step program, but simply felt that he needed to make amends. Close enough.) We definitely weren't each other's "type", he gave me a South Park video collection for Christmas, he was very Catholic and spoke extensively about how he expected his future spouse to practice natural family planning, and I was almost compelled to kick him from his own moving vehicle on a trip to the Gator Bowl due to his incessant love of a good heated debate. Then he suddenly broke it off, during your typical "we have things to talk about" meeting at a coffee house. No biggie, really. We both knew it wasn't going anywhere, my pride was wounded a bit, but it was okay and I didn't think about it for more than a month. I just told myself that after he witnessed me dressed as a sexy biker for Halloween he just couldn't handle the constant need to run to confession. Giggle, giggle, giggle...
So he emails to say he feels badly about how things ended, and that he is very happy now with his sweet and talented wife, and he credits our brief relationship for showing him that he needs to be more patient with people, and this revelation helped him to solidify his relationship with her. Ok, I'm thinking, that's kinda NICE. Warm fuzzies all the way around. Glad to help you out, buddy.
Moral of the story: Hope you didn't give her South Park videos for Christmas, dude.

We may have to do this one in installments, girls!

Exhibit B is a bit frustrating, so you'll have to give me time to go to my happy place before I tell it!


For the moment, my blog has turned into a gratitude journal!

Clickety-click over here to find out the Secret! This fabulous site features new blogs every day!