Thursday, July 28, 2011

This used to be a Playground

Today we took a walk through Mill Creek Park..near Lantern's Mill. The kids love to see the water falls...and Mr. Picture had to take the new camera out for a spin. It was a good mix of rain and mud..and of course a bloody knee (Olivia). Then at the end of the trip we came to the area where Idora Park used to be. For those of you who aren't familiar with Idora Park, It was a small amusement  park that opened in 1899 and was closed in 1984 due to a fire on one of the main roller coasters it never recovered from.  I wiki-ed if you want more information, is actually the best article I found. IDORA PARK.

The Jack Rabbit circa 1999
I don't know why I am obsessed with Idora Park, I was only 5 when it burned down and can vaguely remember riding the Jack Rabbit. Maybe I am obsessed with Idora Park because it is a symbol for Youngstown in general. When you look at old pictures of Idora Park, you cant help but to feel sadness in your gut. That was the Youngstown our parents grew up with...the one where you felt safe in Mill Creek Park and the one where an amusement park was literally in your back yard. It was the Youngstown where you were raised up thinking you would be fine, you would thrive. This is not the Youngstown we live in today. Like the skeleton of greatness that is now Idora Park, we live in a depressed post steel Youngstown and especially one where opportunities are few and far between. I just laugh when I hear people talking about jobs returning to the Valley or the Valley rebounding..or what ever.  I know, why do I choose to live here? Do I really think that Youngstown will return to its Idora greatness? hardly. The easy answer is that my family is here...if you cant think of a better one, well I am all ears.

same area, July 2011
Its been about ten years since I have been near the empty Idora Park site. I was doing a project for a Photography class I was taking in college. My teacher was a real bi-ach. No really she was..she thought she was some kind of photography genius but really I think she just liked the attention the young artsy guys in the class gave her. A beaver was the easiest way to a C on every project. We were assigned a project for the had to do with memories or feelings..something "artsy" like that. I wasn't doing well in the class...and we hadn't even started to develop our own film yet. My love for photography was slowly slipping away. So when I came home for the weekend ( I was living in Columbus at the six year excape) in tow, I knew there was only one place to get stunning pictures...Mill Creek Park. I dragged my then boyfriend to the park with me to help me get the right shots and angles. Let me just say this...I am no picnic. I give props to anyone who has dated me and God knows there is a special place in heaven for Josh. There is a point in every relationship where I break out into all out panic attack mode. Its when i stop pretending to be "cool, go with the flow" KJ and turn into anxious mess KJ...and then about once a month from there on out.

Main area 1999
We spent the better part of a rainy dreary Saturday morning at Lantern's Mill. (it is an old Mill located inside of the park..still stunning). I took pictures of the trees, paths, falls, bridges, everything. I used different angles..flash, no flash. About an hour later, I was pretty satisfied that I had gotten enough good shots to put together a nice project. Maybe Miss Artsy will give me a B even! I opened the camera to get the film out (remember kids, this was 1999...we used real film and had to take it somewhere to get processes). Then my jaw dropped...the film was not all the way wrapped around the spool. The project anxiety turned into an all out sob fest. there were were walking up the road with and empty visually orgasmic to my fussy teacher's ears as I had imagined.  It looked like I was going to have to go all around the mill again in order to recreate the whole thing. "Lets go down this way and catch the other path" Then boyfriend said. He knew his way around the park much better than me so I was glad to have him along. On the way to the mill we passed a gate. "is that the old Idora Park?" I asked. He nodded yes..and I was immediately taken back to that time when I was a kid riding the Jack-Rabbit. I wanted to see experience it and best of all, take pictures of it. So I made sure the film was securely placed in the camera and I took picture after picture of run downs rides, an old ballroom, the famous french fry stand, and the main area. All in ruin, but still so beautiful. They were color to a grey day..the yellow paint of the Wild Cat, the turquoise fry was pure nostalgic bliss. I loved those pictures. The ball room burned down two years later and the rest of the park was demolished. I took a piece of history with me that day...and got another C. Today, I looked at the blank khaki colored grass that used to be a place of such joy..I imagine my dad taking my mom for a date there...I imagined my grandparents on a date there. Today I looked at this place and saw what I feel about this town...nothing.

Wild Cat 1999

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Shoelace Incident: The Conclusion

The shoelace incident in our house has become synonymous with all of Olivia's antics. "Olivia did you remember to make your bed?" Olivia "Yes" Me...are you sure you are telling the truth? Its not like the shoelace incident". This approach always draws sighs or tears. While it may be unresolved, we still use it as a reward "if you find the shoelace...I will buy you an ipod touch". (I know an ipod touch is way more expensive then a set of shoelaces). In our house finding the shoelaces is our Holy is the key that will unlock the mystery of what actually goes on in Olivia's mind. It remands me of a baby. A baby hides things like cups, bottles, blankies they cant live with out, etc. And retracing the steps of a baby can be a treasure with no map.

The shoelace story is now spanning into day three. At this point of listening to Olivia, I am tired. We have retraced for a good two hours and I can barely look at the pile of laundry waiting for the conclusion of the story to be folded. So to be different, we started day three (which is the current day) backward.  The score was now 5-3 and if I was even going to have any hope of coming out on top, I needed to come up with some real "out of the box" style parenting.

Me: So lets start with when we were driving home and I asked if you had the string.
Olivia: Ok, I said I had the string
Me: No, remember what you said?
Olivia: No
Me: You said "I don't want to answer that"
Olivia: well I didn't.
Me: Ok so before we got home you were at Papa's
Olivia: I was at Papas. but today was Layla's art day. While Layla was at art, Papa took me to Dairy queen. I ordered a Blizzard. But I wasn't supposed to tell Layla.
Me: but you did tell her
Olivia: But I dint know that Layla was going to see my blizzard
Me: well you did take out of the freezer right in front of her. You weren't very secretive about it
Olivia: Oops
Me: Ooops
Olivia: Well I didn't want to even tell because I thought you would be mad at me
Me: but you did
Olivia: Oops
Me: Anyway, back to the shoelace.
Olivia: Anyway, so I went to Dairy Queen, I got my blizzard out (she pretends to eat) I am eating it. Then I think my tummy is hurting so I put it in the freezer. (she walks over to her dresser). Pretend this is the freezer. Ahhh, now I should go to the bathroom..pretend like there is a bathroom. I go to the bathroom, wash my hands, I thought my face was dirty so I wash it...oh I didn't really do that. Since Layla wasn't there, I asked Papa if I could play on the computer. He said yes. (she clicks her hands on the air) pretend this is the computer. Five minutes of computer, then you come. I walk out of the office and tell you how school was. I get my blizzard. Layla gets feisty about it so I have to share with her. Then I let her have the whole thing because I was full. Ok. time to go home.

Me: Wait..So then where is the shoelace?
Olivia: In my pocket, or wait. In my book
Me: So, wait, did you have the shoelace at school???
Olivia: No. I came home and got it...i think
Me: Olivia..please don't lie to Mommy.
Olivia: (thinking carefully about what to say next). Yes, it was at school.
Me: AHHH. you are killing me
Olivia: But, Mommy

Score: Olivia 5 Mom 3

I feel at this moment maybe I am turning a corner. Maybe I can take her through her school day...maybe she left it at school and it is a matter of a simple call to the office lost and found. My kids are notorious for loosing things. Since we have started school, between the two of them, they have lost  3 pairs of shoes, 5 hats, 1 pair of boots, 2 lunch boxes, 1 pencil box, 1 jacket, came home with 1 different winter coat, and that's what I know about. Layla lost a pair of shoes for what seemed like all of first grade. She kept saying someone else had them. What did she come home with on the last day of school when her feet were too big to fit in them? you guessed it, the Witches of Waverly Place sneaker she had to have in the fall.

Me: So you went to school with the shoelace in your book bag.
Olivia: Yes
Me: Did you take it out in the morning
Olivia: No. It stayed in my book bag in the hall way until lunch. Then I took it out at lunch. I played with it when I was eating lunch. Then I put it in my pocket. No wait- I packed today so I put it in my lunch box until after recess
Me: Are you sure you didn't throw it away?
Olivia: No. I got the strings out after recess. I put them in my desk.
Me: Are they still in your desk?
Olivia: No. my teacher left the room so I got them out to play with.
Me: Did she see you playing with the strings?
Olivia: No. Then I heard her coming back so I put them in my pencil box
Me: So you wouldn't get in trouble?
Olivia: Noooo
Me: So are they still in your pencil box?

Me: So the string is in your desk?
Olivia: No, I put it in my lunch box
Me: So it is in your lunch box?
I get up to go look in her book bag where her lunch box is. Like the end of a quest has finally arrived, I open the lunch box to string.
Me: Its not in the lunchbox. Are you sure you didn't leave it at school?
Olivia: I think I did.
Me: so do you think it is at your desk? or in your mailbox? or your pencil box?
Olivia: I think it is in my pencil box.
Me: Oh good. So tomorrow you can remember to get it out of your pencil box?
Olivia: Uh-huh

For a minute she looks pretty satisfied. We had both come to the conclusion that tomorrow this whole mess would be solved if she could just remember to look in her desk. I think I should probably call the school...I am sure my request couldn't be the most bizarre thing the school has ever heard...right?

Me: Make sure you look for that string tomorrow ok. Layla will you remind her?
Layla: Sure
Olivia: I will mommy, I promise. It is in my desk.
Me: Are you sure? (worm can..start opening)
Olivia: (hesitates). Yes
Me: I know, why don't we go to the school right now, that way we can get the string and you wont have to worry about finding it tomorrow.

I should mention that Olivia is in full out squirm mode. She is slinking on and off the couch and pacing.... I shouldn't force this issue any more.....I should just let it go.....but the inner stubborn child inside of me just couldn't drop it.

Olivia: The school is locked
Me: I have a key. They give keys to all the Mommies and Daddies
Olivia: well
Me: You said you think its at school. Its clearly not in your back pack, or your lunch box. We looked in your room and the backroom. It has to be at school. right?
Olivia: um. yeah

I get up to start to put on shoes. Going to the school is the last thing I wanted to do now...but I was too far into it, and she couldn't catch my bluff now. I was gaining on her

Score Olivia 5 Mom 4

Me: So do you think it is in your pencil box, or your desk or mailbox?
Olivia: well
Me: What Liv?
Olivia: I don't want to go the school
Me: You said it is there right?
Olivia: Yes
Me: So lets go there and get it..once and for all this mess will be over
Olivia: Mommy
Me: What Liv?
Olivia: I don't want to tell you anymore. You will be mad at me
Me: What do you mean? I wont be mad. Olivia, I promise I wont. I just need you to tell Mommy the truth. What do I always say? just tell me the truth
Olivia: Well, the truth is...I lied to you about taking it to school.

Game over. Olivia wins.

Me: So you never had it at school?
Olivia: No.
Me: Where is it?
Olivia: that's the thing. I lost it. I don't know where it is but I knew you would be mad so I made up the whole story.

Ok. Parents...where do you go from here? Elaborate made up story...check. No closure.....check. Two hours of my life I will never get back? Check. The whole experience has taught me a valuable lesson on parenting...sometimes its better not to ask. If they say they don't know...they aren't lying..they just don't know. My child just went as far as to go through her whole day, incorporating a string into every activity..some that may have included it..most that didn't. I didn't want to even ask what parts were true and what parts weren't. To this day, my boots sit unused in the closet waiting to return to the glory days of when they had laces. I have put off buying a pair thinking that one day..they will just turn up in the most random spot and we will all have a good laugh about it. But, I am sure I will end up with a pair of Wally-World replacements...and reminder of what happens when you take a trip into your kid's mind.

Me and Liv, Walking away in Harmony..

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Really like your peaches....

Layla's new picture from Art Camp ....LOVE

The Shoelace Incident...Part 2

I just went to the bathroom to find a single round turd ball floating in the toilet and two unanimous denials when I asked who forgot to flush. It sure is good to have them back.

So we left off Olivia had one up on me. The story was getting no where and I was no closer to finding my shoelaces then the moment I discovered their absence. My Mimi always told me when I loose something to retrace your steps and you will find it. It is always my first logic, but when Olivia is involved all logic is thrown out the door. If you are just tuning in...this story will make more sense if you check out Part 1.  

This isn't Days of Our Lives or Guiding Light. Once upon a time I was a stay at home Mom-and yes I watched Passions. There isn't going to be an elaborate recap...just Me, Olivia and a set of missing shoe laces. We go now to Olivia's bedroom where she is recapping a play scene that involves her ever expanding collection of Littlest Pet Shops and of course the shoe lace. 

Me: So then you put the pet shop away? because of course you put all your toys away when you were done playing
Olivia: yes. I get the string..shut the Pet shops. 
Me: What did you do next
Olivia: I asked you a question. "Mommy, can I have a snack?" you said yes. So then I went to get a cookie..oh wait that was when we didn't have I got something out of the cabinet. I forget what it was..maybe a bowl of cereal
Layla: Get on with the story
Me: So you had the strings when you had the snack?
Olivia: Yes. I promise I didn't put them in the bowl of cereal. or whatever I had. I got done with my snack and still had the strings
Me: Then what?
Olivia: So then Daddy says it is time for bed. So I run to the bathroom (she runs to the bathroom). brush my teeth and say "goodnight Mommy".
Me: Are you still holding the strings?
Olivia: you didn't know I was holding the strings. So then I kiss you goodnight (she kisses me) and I ask Layla the same question I ask her every night. "Layla can I borrow Tangled" 
Layla: no
Olivia: please
Layla: no, its my turn
Olivia: Ok
Me: who ended up watching it that night
Olivia: Layla, I really only get to watch it on weekends. So I go to bed. (she is laying in bed with the light off). 

Me: So you slept with the string?
Olivia : yes

Score Olivia 4 Me 2

I now realize this saga will span across another day...more actions to recreate..and more of the mind of Olivia to be unfolded. Olivia is simulating sleep. She then indicates a new day has come and she will have to go to school. Sometime during the school year, I put an alarm clock in Layla's room. I work at 8 and the girls need to be on the bus at 7:30 (something that happens once a week, tops). My house is complete chaos from 7-8..three bathroom. Usually this is when Josh decides it is "morning throne"time (about 7:15-7:25). Layla, the only practical one in the house, realized if she gets up at 6:48, then she can be ready to catch the bus with out being in any one's way. So she gets up then, and attempts to wake Olivia every morning. Layla has now become part of the simulation

Layla: (still in her cowgirl outfit)  Olivia wake up. Its 6:48
Olivia: can't I sleep for a little bit
Layla: O-Livia get up now
Olivia: (groaning) O-K

Olivia gets up and walks toward the kitchen
Olivia: So I go to the kitchen. but I realize I had the string, so I go back and put it under the bed.  
Me: So its under the bed?
Olivia: No. I set it here while I picked out something to wear. You are awake now (she puts the fake string on her dresser). I pick out this (she holds a yellow tank top). No not that (she throws it on the floor) I pick out something (next shirt..floor). 
Me: Ok, don't make a mess
Olivia: so then I pick out something..grab the string then I get my shoes on, brush my teeth, eat my gummy, (vitamin) and try to brush my hair. but I couldn't , so I ask you to help me and you put my hair up like this. (she points to her half pony tail)
Me: So this was today?
Olivia: no. wait no. I didn't ask you to put my hair up. So I brushed my hair and put my coat on, got my book bag and it was about 7:29. So we had to make the bus really quick. We were rushing and daddy was driving. 

Olivia is now bouncing up and down as she is telling the story..up down, up down, up down. 

Me: did you jump to the bus stop?
Olivia: No. so then we were driving..then we were on the bus. 
Me: So you took the string to school?
Olivia: wait, wait. So before we left for the bus, I put the string here (under the bed) and I went to school. Then I got to school. Did some reading, went to recess, Yeah!, did some math, boo, did some spelling then got on the bus and came home. Papa picked us up and I asked him to stop home. So I got the string we went to Papas. I was really I tried to take a nap, but Layla had the TV too loud. I asked her to turn it down...she said I couldn't sleep. Then it was time for our Daddy to pick us up

Me: Wait, Daddy didn't pick you up. You had girl scouts. 
Olivia: Oh yeah, before we went to Girl Scouts, we went to Burger King. I played with a little girl named Layla..oh wait. Her name wasn't Layla, it was Katie. But then she had to leave so we played for a little bit longer
Me: wait...did you have the string during all of this?
Olivia: Yeah. It was in my pocket. I didn't show anyone
Me: Both strings?
Olivia: Yes. So then we went to Girl Scouts. I took my Coke with me. Our leader said I could have it. Layla wanted some so I gave it to her. We glued our hands (felt ones for their banner), I didn't get to finish mine, but that was ok. I ate crackers for a snack. Then you came and got me. 
Me: You still had the string?
Olivia: Yes. So then we got home. Layla was coloring, and I was sitting on the couch with you. You said "how was your day?" I said "it was good". So then I went to my room and I was playing with my stuffed animals. (she simulates playing with two stuffed Nemo fish). 
Me: did you have the string
Olivia: yes. (she pretends to tie a string around her bed) I was playing with it. I play for a bit. You say "its time for bed" I have a snack, brush my teeth. And, here's the hard part, ask Layla for tangled.  She says no. Then I go to bed. 
Me: with the string?
Olivia: Yes

Ok, you get the point now. The string story has now spanned over not one but two days. I have followed Olivia through her simulated day for what seems like forever. Every little detail and every action has been recited. Yet, I am wondering if the string has ever been part of the story...or if she lost it and is afraid to tell me. Even worse, I wonder if she has any clue where the string is. I am amazed by her story telling, her attention to detail and her portrayal of every minute of her day. We think of our days long, boring, tedious, but listening to the account through a child is so much different. Has this been any closer to finding the string? not at all. Olivia is staring at me..mentally drilling me to give her the computer. She has lists to make and Christmas items to shop for, so I will have to conclude tomorrow. I hate to keep doing this to everyone..(kind of)..but there is a third part to this saga. And let me give you a preview...the string makes its way to school. And with out giving the whole thing away, I will say of July 26, 2011..I still have no laces in my shoes. 

at the end of the half, I am getting my butt kicked

Score: Olivia 5 Mom 2

Olivia in her new "glasses" 

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Shoelace Incident....Part 1

In light of my girls being gone for what seems like forever...I have decided to tell the story Olivia never wants anyone to know. This journey into her inner workings were only a foreshadowing of what I am up for come teenage years. The story begins with a fabulous pair of lace up boots...a pair I had my eyes on all winter. Like the good bargain shopper I am, I knew if I waited long enough that I would find them on sale. Sure enough, had them for $25 (and free super saver shipping!). A whole season and three to five days standard shipping later, they were mine. Grey, 3in cone heel, lace up, fold over boots. The perfect blend of rocker and boho cool. They were both unique and classic...and over half the retail price, they were a steal. Of course, living in Youngstown OH, I knew it would be weeks before they would make their outfit debut. I snuck them in once on a happy hour date...a date where everyone was already drunk when I go there and unable to appreciate their true majesty. So I was still in process of coordinating them with the perfect outfit.

I stared at the boots every day that week after work. Picturing them with a skirt and tights or over black skinny jeans, I looked at them longingly..waiting to wear them. One day I did a double take, the laces were missing. Was I crazy, did I ever lace them? Didn't I wear them? Were there laces then? Confused, I confronted Josh. "What laces? What grey boots?" typical man. Then I asked Layla..."why would I take the laces?" she asked. The logic and overall confusion in her voice led me to believe there was no reason to doubt her. So unless the cat or dog ate them (right out of their little lace holes), the only person left to ask was Olivia.

Me: Olivia, did you take Mommy's shoe laces?
Olivia: No
Me: Olivia, you know Mommy's new grey lace up boots?
Olivia: Yeah, from the mailman. (Olivia is the only person in the family who gets excited about new clothes as me)
Me: Yes, those ones
Olivia: I don't want to answer that.

Score Olivia 1 Mom 0

I stopped. What now....clearly she took the laces. That right there was an admission of guilt. But how to handle end goal was to get the laces back..I don't know why or even care why she took them.

Me: Olivia, I promise I wont be mad if you took them. I just want to make sure the dog didn't eat them.
Olivia: I said I don't want to answer that. The dog can't eat them
Me: I really need to know what happened to those laces. I want to wear my shoes.
Olivia: You can use my laces
Me: Yours are purple and sparkly...mine are gray. Should I ask Layla?
Olivia: sure
Me: could you please tell me the truth. I already know you took the laces. Just tell me the truth and I promise I wont be mad.
Olivia: Ok...well I was playing mummy and I needed something to wrap around my I took them

Score Olivia 1 Mom 1

Ok. So I got her to admit she took them. It took all my restraint not to say "what the f@#K were you doing taking MY laces and wrapping around your stupid are you." Instead I took a breath. Then I looked at her. Trying to come up with the right words to keep my pace with her I said,

Me: Thank you for telling me the truth. Can I have them back now
Olivia: yes
Me: Where did you put them? were you playing outside?
Olivia: Yes
Me: So they are outside
Olivia: (pause, finger on her chin for exaggerated thinking gesture): No
Me: (restraint slipping away) Why were you playing mummy with a pair of laces, don't you know you can choke yourself
Olivia: Well I didn't have anything else to use.
Me: So where are they?
Olivia: In my room.

Olivia runs to her room. I wait. Nothing really is happening while I stare blankly at a pair of unlaced boots and my motherly dignity slipping right out of my hand.

Score: Olivia 2 Mom 1

Finally, I went into her room to see what she was doing. She was playing with her Littlest Pet Shops.

Me: Where are the laces?
Olivia: What laces?
Me: You were going to find the ones you took from my gray boots to play mummy with. Those laces
Olivia: I don't know what I did with them
Me: (like a cartoon with steam pouring out of my ears) What do you mean you lost them? why did you take them in the first place? They weren't yours. You don't take Mommy's stuff with out asking.
Olivia: But Mommy
Me: Where was the last place you remember having them?

These were my famous last words. What I figured would be an easy answer turned into the saga I am about to reveal. Parents..what do you do when you child is a creative story teller and compulsive liar? I was laughing and crying at the same time. I was wondering if I had failed as a parent or gave birth to the next Mark Twain.

Score: Olivia 3 Mom 1

Olivia: here we go. I went out side and come back in because I wanted to play inside
Me: And you are holding the laces
Olivia. Yeah. Then i came in took my shoes off. took my coat of. (She pretends to take off her coat and shoes). I set the laces down to hang up my coat. (She reaches for the hanger, almost touches it and knocks over a hat). Well pretend I hang my coat up.
Me: Ok, what next
Olivia: (who is now humming the Smurfs theme) I go toward the bathroom..singing. la la la la
Me: You were singing the Smurf's theme?
Olivia: Yeah

She walks into the living room and stops at the desk

Olivia: So I come in the living room. But then I get board so I put them right here and decide to color
Me: Ok so the laces are on the desk?
Olivia: no. I decided to make an art picture with a piece of paper. So I made a face, poked two eyes, made a mouth, then made some hair. But then I couldn't make holes. So then I colored the body and the clothes
Me: So where were the laces?
Olivia: next to me right here.
Me: So the laces have nothing to do with this picture making?
Olivia: Well, I couldn't find anything to make holes for the eyes and mouth so I took the laces like this. (she demonstrates on a piece of paper with a string how she used the laces tip as a paper punch).
Me: So they were used as hole punches?
Olivia: yes. Ok then..I grabbed the string (she takes the string from the desk she used in the last demonstration) and said "I have to go"

Layla is standing next to her in a cow girl outfit we had been trying on for the next school day's theme. She is giggling, which always encourages her sister's flair for the drama.  The story is now moving out of the living room, into the bathroom.

Olivia: I walk into the bathroom. Sit on the toilet (she sits on the toilet). Then I flush the toilet, wash my hands, wipe my face...because there were brown spots on my face that weren't freckles, and I had set the string here. (She picks up the fake lace off the counter.) Oh, wait, I didn't tell you this. (she picks up a watch from the counter) I put this on because I didn't know it was my sister's

Layla: Hey!

Olivia: (trying to put the watch on) well just pretend I put it on.

She runs out of the bathroom, headed toward her bedroom. She knocks over the glade plug in air freshener from the hall.

Olivia: Oops..i accidentally dropped that. I did that too that day.

She walks away leaving the air freshener laying there.

Me: Did you really accidentally not pick it up?
Olivia: Oops, sorry.

Layla plugs the freshener back into the wall.

At the end of the first quarter the score is
Olivia 3 Mom 2

As I stand there looking at Layla in her cow girl get up, complete with bandana tied around her neck I am wondering what is going through her head at the moment. She is clearly very amused by her sister's antics. I assume the shoe lace is probably in Olivia's room and that surely going through Pet Shop play time would jog her memory and it would turn up. Of course if that was the answer, this would only be "The shoe lace incident".  I think imagination is very important in children. In fact, it is what makes Olivia who she is...a great story teller. Stay tuned for part 2....

You Don't Know What Love is

Last week, I posted a list of songs that inspired my drive home from Columbus. I really enjoyed reading everyone's feedback. Since I love music and sharing my thoughts on music so much..I have decided to do a song of the week. Enjoy!

I knew I was going to do this all week. It was a week of ups and downs as well as different experiences. I spent some quality time getting to know my husband all over again. We dated like children..where we took adventures together. We were inspired to finally follow our creative dreams..his being photography mine writing. This was especially amazing because of how long we have been together..nine years..and how much of that was with children. We dated for less than a year when I got pregnant with Layla. We were married the following fall. Our whole married life has revolved around raising and tending to our children. It has never really been the two of us..more like the four of us. We don't really take vacations together..or even dates for that matter. So there is a part of me that worries what life will be ten years from now when our little birdies are ready to fly away. Will we realize then that we have absolutely nothing in common? Will we still not have the money to do the fun things we always say we wanted to do? Will we still love each other? Marriage is never easy and asking the questions you don't want to face can be the hardest thing ever. This week I was able to put some of those fears aside. Hanging out one on one with Josh made me realize that we have a lot in common and that once the children aren't our whole focus, we will have things to pass our time. So inspired my song choice:

-You Don't know What Love Is (You Just Do As Your Told) - White Stripes. I am not just choosing this because I absolutely love the White Stripes. (and am not ready to discuss the break up). Jack White can do no wrong. His vocal inflection is both creepy and sexy. The vocals take on such a childish taunting that the person is being scolded for not understanding love. The song has the White Stripes signature, that guitar that Jack makes all his own.

This week, I spent time with so many couples whether it be friends, family, or even in the movies I caught up on. I realized that love isn't an immature thing. People sometimes cling to what they think is love in fear of being alone or for fear of change..or for many other reasons that don't make sense when you really think about it. Love isn't about sex, compliance, status, beauty, money or even security. Love is about being with someone..that one person you cant live with out. "You just keep on repeating all those empty "I love yous", until you see you deserve better I'm going to lay rig in to you".  This song is about scolding immature love...and I think the reason so many couples don't last is because of an immature approach to love. I am not perfect, neither is my relationship, but the times I have looked at it with grown up eyes are the times it has gotten better. "You don't know what love is, you just do as your told. Just as a child of ten might act, but you're far to old. You're not hopeless or helpless, and I hate to sound cold. But you don't know what love is"  So i hope that all the love around me lasts, and is not ended by immaturity. And if you aren't with the person you know you should be..then make that changes. Life is too short not to spend with people you want to be around.

The Summer Weight

I really don't get how a person gains weight in the summer. I am active, sweating more, drinking more water and generally doing things that don't involve living on my couch. I haven't watched a full week of TV since Memorial day. The girls have insisted on bike rides at least three times a week...and I have gotten Mr. Anti-exercise to join with us. So still when I stepped on the devils back (the scale) it revealed that I have gained eight pounds. Not only that buy my work pants are either creating a muffin top or a camel toe. (so classy). You can play quarter toss with the gap between the second and third button on my work shirts (even classier) and I have had to pull out the fat sucker suit  (that uncomfortable thing i wore post baby to keep the lumps and bumps in check). My bra is revealing quad boob and back fat...and there is a level of jiggle forming on my thighs that I can only poke with a fork and laugh at. I am getting secretary flat ass from sitting in an office chair all week and the area below my belly button looks like I am having the "stay puffed marshmallow man's" babies. What I am trying to say is over the last year I have really let myself go. In May 2010, I ran a 13 miles to complete a half marathon. In May 2011, I cant even run a mile. I used to go spinning and kickboxing twice a week and do Winsor pilates every day. Now I cringe at the word "exercise" and "diet".

My next thirty day project doesn't require an every day requires an adjustment to my current lifestyle. Today Josh and I took a bike ride around town and went for a hike. None of this felt like exercise. This is the catalyst for my lifestyle change that involves loosing 15 lbs in the next two months. As I sit here chomping on cheese soaked nachos..I know some things are going to have to give.

-Dinners out are reserved for special occasions. Summer has led way to lack of cooking. Not sure if it is too hot to run the oven or if there is so much packed into a typical day that we are driving through dinner every night. We are going to have to cook..healthy and more often. In the season of fresh veggies and fruit and of course the grille, there is no reason to be eating out so much.

-Cookouts are not an excuse to over eat. Ahh..the dreaded cook out. Hot dot? hamburger? probably both. Did I miss that pot of pulled pork? better have another sandwich. Then there is the creamy salad haven..potato, pasta, cole slaw, mac and cheese. With all that creamy goodness..there is hardly room for fruit and veggie salads. Time to watch cook out portions. More veggies and fruits..a small helping of one creamy salad and of course only one cook out meat.

-Dessert is not required. Cookouts, grad parties, birthdays, weddings...why does everything summer involve dessert. Cakes, cookies, pies. They are everywhere I turn. One dessert from now on and in a tiny portion.

-Beer Belly can be avoided. Summer and beer drinking are like Christmas and presents. They go hand in hand. You cant stop at a friend's house to borrow a ladder with out being offered a beer. So now I am going to limit beer to only one day. (challenge!)

-Exercise should be fun. Running like a hamster on a wheel is not at all fun. Riding a bike that goes no where is not fun. I am not sure what real life activity an elliptical simulates but that is also not fun. While out on a bike ride, I realized activities like biking and hiking are more for me. I am out moving and sweating. We hike to take pictures and bike to go I am exercise productive. I also enjoy playing games on the I am investing in some boxing games.

- Food should not contain a million ingredients  Contents in carrots...carrots. Easy enough. processed food contains so much sodium which causes water retention. Soda is terrible for you. Anything frozen then deep fried is bad news as well. Everything I eat from now on will be prepared from basic fresh ingredients. No more mystery meat and sodium dinners.

Easy enough right? Lets see how this new lifestyle plan coincides with my summer. I have buttons popping off of jean shorts and lumps and bumps where I never imagined possible. Time for a change.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I just woke up feeling like I slept for a week. This is the one fantastic thing about not having the kids around...its not the sleeping in but the quality of sleep. We stayed up late last night..maybe until after 2. But, it really didn't matter since I knew that when I went to bed....I didn't have to wake up for anything.

My girls are self sufficient now, they make their own breakfast, they watch TV until we get up on Saturdays. They know that Saturday is mommy's only day to sleep in and are respectful of that. Normal Saturday sleeping in is usual 9am...10 tops. I wake up with a sense of urgency...what are they doing? are they fighting? why is it so quiet? I usually come to the living room, rubbing my groggy eyes, to find two girls sitting on the couch together engrossed in Sponge Bob. Their breakfast bowls are always still on the table and the cat is trying to climb up to lap up the extra milk. Even knowing this is what every Saturday morning starts with at our house, I still wake up feeling like they may need me.

Last nights sleep was uninterrupted by the feeling of being needed. I even dreamt they weren't my subconscious knew that I didn't have to worry ..they are away. The Saturday morning, I don't have to be anywhere, sleep is the most refreshing night sleep I have had in a long time. I just drank in a nights sleep equivalent to a ten hour energy the question is..what to do today?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Living the Dream

Another Friday passed, another week wished away. The anxiety of Friday can be quite overwhelming. You spend the week waiting and hoping for that magic time...5:00 and then it comes what? The week is over the weekend is here...and repeat again Monday. This goes on for the next thirty years then you retire. Sounds pretty depressing, right? I cant help but wonder if it is possible to break out of convention and do something about the mundane and every day. Ten years ago, if you would have told me I would be sitting in an office doing bookkeeping, I would have laughed my free spirited ass off. So here I am wondering what the hell happened.

There is that saying that if you love what you do then you will never work a day in your life. Well, I am pretty sure that is used in a commercial..for beer. If I made beer than I hardly doubt that would be considered working. "My life is awesome ale" anyone? I don't think success is measured by wealth, title or status. It isn't measured with how big your house is or what kind of car you drive, where you golf, where you hang out or who you are rubbing elbows with. Happiness is hardly what everyone else thinks of you and who your kids are friends with or even the amazing countries you visit. So as I wonder on this pursuit of, well something, I often get blocked on the way wondering if it is possible that doing this will make me truly happy.

Don't get me wrong, I have a great life. I am fortunate to have two beautiful girls, a great husband and an amazing family and friends to keep me sane. But there is a certain amount of personal responsibility where I feel I am coming short. Am I someone my kids, husband, parents, and friends can be proud of? My career path has become more of a road block where I am my own worst enemy. I think somewhere along the line I forgot to dream.

If I were to go to career day, or give a speech to my eighteen year old self, I would say one important thing....don't forget to dream. Its the dreamers that succeed and its because they know what they want. Its hard to work for something when you don't know where it is going. So as I sit here, looking for a sign of where to go, I realize I have been ignoring all the burning bushes around me. So the first thing I need is a dream.

"Dream on, dream on, dream until your dreams come true"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Today's mood...colorful

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The sound of Madness

Babies and toddlers...they are everywhere I look. Most of the other parents I interact with are parents to babies and toddlers. I hear a lot about diapers, baby beds, bottles, learning to walk, learning to talk...everything. Moms, don't think I don't feel what you are going through...its just been a couple years..and the memory of that time is slowly slipping away. I remember the big milestones...Layla walked at 13 months...Liv at 11 (well in her case ran). Layla was potty trained well after her third birthday. Liv used a "binky" until 18 months. One day we said "binky all gone" and with tears welling in her eyes she agreed.  Layla's first swear word was the f-bomb and Liv was a big fan of sh#@. At three months Layla slept peacefully through the night and Liv was about a year when this happened.

The thing I try to forget was the general exhaustion and stress I felt. At twenty months apart, I basically had two babies for what seemed like forever. Liv never slept and Layla was always talking. Liv had a gag reflex until well after 2 yrs. So please know one is ok to really not like them some days. (you always love them...but liking them is a different story). Olivia hated the crib, and at ten months was trying to escape. (She hates any sort of confinement). Getting her to bed was always a project. Some nights I would lay with her for hours..hoping she wouldn't notice the creek in the door as I would try to sneak out. Other days I hoped I could get to her crying in the middle of the night before she would throw up. One time I missed, and puke seeped out from under the door and her mini puke handprints were all over the wall.  I expected this from her...but I didn't always have the patience for it. There is the "Liv hole" in our living room wall. She was almost down for a much needed nap. I was rocking her in the chair in the living room. I was about to lay her down in her crib so I could find my way to the living room floor . Slowly, I crept out of the chair. I cradled her in my arms...adjusted the elbow that had long fell asleep. Then.."waaaaa!!!" she woke up. I really wanted this nap...I needed this nap. Tears stung my eyes and my heart tightened up. I needed to do something...throw something...scream. Before I knew it my foot was in the wall. (stupid cheap plaster). I looked at her soft blue wide from what happened, and in a fit of madness started to laugh. I moved the book shelf in front of that hole and didn't tell Josh about it for two years.

One day, I was doing laundry. Liv's second birthday was nearing and I wanted to make my house look like it hadn't been taken over by Dora the Explorer and Care Bears. I needed to clear a path from the back room to the laundry needed to be done. I spent the day washing, drying, folding, sorting, chasing Liv, feeding Layla. I sorted the clothes in Layla's room. Socks, underwear, pants, dresses hung up. The next basket went to Liv's room. The girls were playing nicely in Layla's room with big blocks. There was no fighting, no screaming..this was my chance. I rushed through Liv's clothes...even got her stuff hung up in record time. The whole process took five minutes. Still, with a two and three year old, there is always a feeling if you don't have your eye on them..and you can hear them..something is really wrong. I went back into Layla's room and I went blind with rage..Liv had taken all the clothes out of her drawers. Pants were strewn over blocks and shirts were in a wide pile around her feet. She smiled at she was "helping". Layla was playing with blocks and wasn't even looking at her. I bent down, started to pick up socks and shirts and pants and shorts. My hand was shaking with heart racing. I threw the empty basket I was hit the closet door. So then I kicked it. Then I punched the closet door. My hand now throbbing and my foot cut from the basket I looked at the girls. "Whats wrong Mommy?" Layla nothing had happened. "Layla, sometimes you guys just make me so fucking mad!!"

A couple days later was Liv's birthday party. Her second birthday...and the whole family was in town. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins..etc. With a mid July birthday, I can always count on it to be really hot. This year was no exception. I put out a slip and slide and all the kids..and my brother in law (the biggest kid) slid up and down that thing all day. Layla is especially attached to Josh's brother. They have always been buddies...I think he was one of the original allies in the pre-little sister days. They were playing a splashing game in the little pool at the end of the slip and slide. Layla's head went into the pool and she didn't like it. She got up suddenly and fast..glaring at her uncle. "Are you ok" he asked. She put her hands on her hips. "Teddy, sometimes you make me so fucking mad!"

These are my fondest memories of my babies. The days they drove me to the brink...the days were I wanted to drive them to my mom's house and escape..just be alone. Do I miss those days? Their sweet baby faces, so innocent with their giant blue eyes? Not a chance

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Its quiet...too quiet

Day kids. Six days to go. I like to think I will get all these things done around the house, or work out, or even kick back and enjoy this time with out the girls. In reality, I will most likely go out to dinner too much, drink too much and spend too much time watching pointless TV. (at least there is Tosh.0) With the girls gone, the house is erie quiet. When I get up in the morning I swear I can still hear their TV blaring Barbie's Fashion Dream for the tenth time of the night. I am putting it all down, the things I miss most about my girls (aka the things that normally drive me crazy).

-1- The response "what" to everything I say. Layla, did you eat breakfast... What? Olivia do you want any more cantelope....What? Layla did you put away your paints....What? Olivia, where is your other shoe....What?

-2-The patter patter patter of little feet. And I say little because the only person I know with freakishly small feet is Olivia. At seven years old, she is still a toddler's size 11. This is amazing when it comes to buying shoes. I know I will get at least a years worth of time with them...if she doesnt loose them. The patter refers to the running..I have never seen Olivia walk..its always..patter patter patter..slam..konk..."I'm ok."

-3-The random animal factoids. Layla (aka Wikopedia) is always telling me things like where bats live, how many types of frogs there are, how long a usual sea turtle lives. I want to say I retain any of this information...but unfortunately it goes in one ear..and who knows where after that.

-4-The cat misses eating. Well, on time. Every morning, the cat is eagerly waiting outside of Layla's room. She tries to sneak in there every night and sleep with Layla..but lately Olivia has been beating her to it. The cat is not a fan of Olivia (refer to the running part of this post). Since the only reason we have a cat is because Layla likes her (she peed on my vinatage burgendy boots- that was game over for me), so we put up with her. Layla also feeds her before she feeds herself every morning. Layla's final words to me "remember to feed the cat, Mom."

-5-The excessive use of Bandaids. (refer to 2). Olivia says she is OK every ten minutes when she is running or falling or climbing. But really this implies that Olivia will be ok upon application of a bandaid (or in a pinch tattoo). For a while, to save money, I would tell her bandaids are only for when there is blood. I gave up around her fifth birthday. At any given time, Olivia usually is wearing three to five bandaids.

-6-The need to discuss life while I am using the bathroom or shower. (both kids). When I am sitting on the couch or at the table with the girls, I may as well be invisable. But...when I have to use the bathroom or take a shower...suddenly we want to discuss our day..or ponder the burning questions of life (mom-why do you have to shave your legs?).

-7-The reminders- Did you brush your teeth? Did you take the dog out? Are you wearing shoes? Did you eat breakfast? are you wearing deoderant (Layla)? Are you wearing two pairs of pants (Olivia)? Did you take that from your sister? Did you clean your room? Did you put your bike away? These are the questions I find my self asking over and over again to the air..or the dog..who every will listen. What response do I usually get? refer to 1

-8- Having my texts and facebook comments prescreened. "Mom- Richelle is texting you...again" The scenerio: I am changing out of my work clothes. I hear a ding from my phone in my purse indicating a new text message. Olivia running down the hall to grab it then running back down the hall to report. Along with that is the determination of what I am allowed to text or post on facebook. "Mom- Did you put my new painting on facebook?" (Layla) has anyone "liked" it yet? "Mommy - you dont have to tell Richelle everything" (Olivia).

While all these things may seem annoying to most people, (and at times me too) these are the little ticks that make my house run the way it does.

This is a long drive...part 2

Its funny when you start something you actually enjoy drive your self to do it. I cant follow through with much. My life is at times a series of to do lists. Thirty days for me is twenty eight too long. So when I started this pursuit  project, I honestly wondered if I would be able to continue. I have failed many diets, budgets, agendas, and plans of action. I have two degrees I have no idea what to do with. What ever I am on the pursuit of, I am now twenty nine days closer to the answer. June 20 was my first post..and last week I actually was able to show more than two people what I was up to. Yesterday, I started a list and today I came very close to going to bed with out finishing. But there was actually something that kept it going, something more than the need to loose weight or get out of debt. I said I wanted to ride this out one more day and throw out five more songs. So even if one person reads this or even if I am the only person (well besides Shanna :) to read are the last five songs that defined my drive home last night. Looking at them, I realize I bring it down with five different kind of ballads. But thats what I like in the car, to sing along (or just hum to the tune)

6. Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughn
One year it was Layla's birthday. I am not going to pretend I know the year for sure, but I am pretty sure it was 2008. We had a party for her and that night, the wind really kicked up. I was working for my dad's tree business at the time and I knew by the sound of the winds howling and shaking that downed limbs and damage was inevitable. The girls were getting ready for bed when the power went out.  They were really was completely dark. We had one working flashlight at the time (and it was one of those key chain sized LED ones). I had my laptop, (at the time I was still working on my masters degree). I was going to do homework that it was sunday and everything was due. But the girls looked so scared, and sad. I thought about letting them sleep in my bed..but I knew all four of us didn't fit in a queen bed anymore. So I gave them my laptop to watch movies until they fell asleep. I knew that a funny disney movie would make them forget about the wind.

After I got them settled, (and Josh was snoring along with the breeze). I couldn't sleep. I admit, the wind scared me a bit. I knew I couldn't protect my children fully from mother nature, and at any time a giant limb could fall through their window and...well thats what its like to be a mother. So I put on my ipod.

"Texas Flood" was the first song that came on. The beautiful and sad strum of Stevie Ray's guitar combined with the urgency of his voice was so fitting with the wind howling in the background. This song is such an wonderful example of how effective listening to the blues can be. There is always a situation, or a time in my life where hearing this song can relax my my mind. I was listening to Texas Flood and its soulful blues, thinking about how weather is a metaphor for love and life...and our longing to be somewhere where there is not that worry of how unpredictable mother nature can be. "Well back home there are no floods, or no tornadoes, and sun shines every day"

7. Jar of Hearts- Chistina Perri

Even I love a little top 40. I really wanted to hate what I though was another teenage version of I don't know what love is but I will sing about it anyway. This song, and its sad piano, kind of changed that feeling. It is about teenage love and how hurtful it can feel. Its about that one heart break you may never shake no matter how hard you try. Its about moving on but never really moving on. I love this song because it captures that nineteen year old break up...the one you really feel. It takes that emotion and gives it the middle finger. "You're going to catch a cold, from the ice inside your soul, don't come back for me, don't come back at all" It is teenage heartache and anguish all bottled up in one beautiful ballad. And this girl can wail. There is nothing more liberating then turning this up as high as it will go and singing along..singing to heartache or maybe the person who never noticed you at all. It is like vocally keying their car. Even if there is no current heart ache, or there hasn't been heart break in over a can give you that over all feeling of hopelessness and rejection. I would suggest taking that emotion and going back to that one heartache. You know which matter how much you bury it, you can take yourself back to that minute when it happened. I like to sing it really feels great. 

8. Nobody's Darling - Lucero

Lucero is country to me...and not the top 40 pop country..the good guitar ballad country. Ben Nichols voice is both daunting and invigorating. The song Nobody's Darling (also the title track to the cd). makes me feel like I am out at a big bonfire in the of this were everyone is kicking back. I guess really I just want to party with these guys. And I love this song..its like just knowing someone is watching a girl (not me in this story- there is not enough whisky in the world to call what I do dancing) dance and she doesn't know it..or how beautiful he thinks she is. To me this is a both a tribute to music and to the fact that Lucero doesn't know how amazing they are. They play just to play and watch that girl dance..and really enjoy the song. "We aint no body's darlings, we never stood a chance, we aint no body's I'll settle for watching her dance.

9. White Water Hymnal- Fleet Foxes

I don't even think there are actual words to describe how magical this song is. Much like the fact that I really don't even understand what the heck they are talking about in this song. I am a lyrics freak. I will listen to a song to memorize and repeat and write lyrics all over the place. I have songs written out all over my journal. (and I know the words to every song ever played on the radio from 1980-1999) But this song, I have no clue what they are talking about, nor do I care. This has to be one of the most original songs I have ever heard. The high and melodic voices that make up this song are instruments and the words are sung to tweak the instrument. I know these guys are from the states, but it feels very irish folky. So my feeling when I hear this song is like the soundtrack for my reaction to seeing the green beauty that is Ireland for the first time ever. Maybe one day, I will get there..and this song will be playing in my head. 

10. White Blank Page- Mumford & Sons
My new obsession. I know, I am like the last person on the planet to hear of Mumford and Sons. This song is just heartbreaking and sad...and I love it. You want to say it.."tell me now it was my fault, for loving you with my whole heart" The words and the tone is so vulnerable that it makes the banjo and the guitar like a tiny harp...singing a sad sad song. This is also a song that works best in the car. You can't dance to it (even slow dance would be weird). Its a tune out the outside world and quit feeling bad since someone cut you off kind of song. And when you think it cant get any sadder, the violin just cries..tears streaming everywhere. So really, try to be sad that you cant go 80 mph when this is going on. I really want to see Mumford & Sons play this I am saving a memory for that.

Music for me is life. It is what calms and challenges me. My list isn't my top ten favorite songs, or even songs I think everyone should love as much as I do. This list is what I was feeling at the time..and what got me home with out a major fit of road rage. So if you see me, singing passionately into an empty bottle of Dr. Pepper, don't feel bad for me or think I am nuts. I am just enjoying myself. 

Monday, July 18, 2011


More love

<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

cluttered inbox

Another monday...another inbox full of shopping coupons and offers. I did this article a couple weeks ago about my inbox of deals and how I avoid being unwise with my shopping cart.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"This is a long drive for someone with nothing to think about"

A perfectly fitting quote from one of my favorite bands, Modest Mouse. It was the title of one of their earlier albums. (also on the album is a song titled: Ohio...also fitting).  I just got home from a three hour car ride across the beautiful state of Ohio (no sarcasm...this time of year, the greenery of Ohio is picturesque). I always sigh and pout anytime there is a pending car trip. Going on road trips causes what can only be described as anxiety explosion in my house. I am frantically remembering not to forget anything (underwear, check..tooth brush, check....sanity..hmmm). Layla is usually following me around spouting off random factoids (did you know Pluto is as long as a trip from Ohio to Texas). Olivia is trying to reinvent her wardrobe to take with her...(can I wear this? she asks running out in her Christmas dress).

The ride home is a different story. I always think I am going to hate will take forever...I will fall asleep...but it always turns into a soulful time to charge my batteries. Tonight was no exception, and since I left the girls behind in Columbus, it was a time for complete and total me time.  Alone on the open road with all my music can be relaxing and helpful to my psyche. I am one of those people who lives for music. I don't just listen to music, I experience music. I let it take me into a different moment. I relive emotions I felt the first time and every time I heard the song. And yes, I sing along. In a car, you are unable to text, check email, eat, drink, do make up, do hair, paint nails, write and so singing is the one thing that doesn't require a spare hand. Especially if you have an iphone loaded with your favorite 500 songs of all time set to random shuffle. Every drive is a random mystery of which emotions will get to present themselves. If you see me in the car with tears streaming down my cheeks singing like Janis Joplin, fear not..I am not crazy..just taken over by a moment I maybe once had or I really want to have. If I love a song so much and I can't relate it to an exact memory, then I go ahead and make one up. I have put together a list (I love lists-thanks Mom!) of the top ten songs that defined my road trip on July 17,2011. I am putting five down here to start...and five more tomorrow. (I like to keep this road trip buzz going into Monday to get me through Monday)..I will preface this by saying I have no boundaries when it comes to music...I listen to everything..the question "what kind of music do you listen to drives me crazy." To limit yourself to one kind of music is like only allowing your self to eat one kind of food. No one lives on pizza alone (although I tried in college)

1. Dead Flowers- Rolling Stones.

This song is so bitter but so twangy and catchy. (take me down, little Suzy, take me down). I love the country feel this song...but it includes lyrics like "I'll be in the basement room, with a needle and a spoon, another girl can take my pain away." I mean, its the Stones, and there is a reason they are living legends.

It took years of loving this song before it finally got its moment. It reminds me of a good friend who we dragged out to our favorite country bar. There was some guy there singing and playing guitar. He had a pretty good voice but when he played Dead Flowers, my friend and I just went nuts (and we may have been the only people who knew this song..weird). So now it has become our song..and I am always happy to share.

2. Talking Shit about a Pretty Sunset - Modest Mouse
There will never be a top ten anything that doesn't include Modest Mouse. I have loved them for so long and for so many reasons that I cant fully explain. Their songs don't just make me feel one or two emotions..they take me on a ride. Talking Shit is one of those songs that belongs in a car. It opens with a harmony into a a melodic set of lyrics..that are both funny and depressing.  "I claim I'm not excited with my life anymore, so I blame this town, this job, these friends, the truth is its myself" that a song lyric or the story of my damn life?? Then the song takes an instrumental it goes in an out of itself sometimes becoming almost whimsical. It is the musical interpretation of a dog sticking its head out the window, tongue floating in the breeze. gets a bit hop hop. "Talking shit about a pretty sunset..blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon". And then it gives you a fantastic two minute closing credit. 

Memory: car ride. That's it..I cant love this song anymore than when I am driving along the highway on a sunny Ohio summer day.  

3. Golden Slumber/Carry that Weight/The End- The Beatles

I know it is technically three songs...but it works so much better as one song. Abbey Road is hands down my favorite Beatles album, and tops many all time favorite lists that I have. This rhapsody is an emotional playground. I sometimes have to listen to it a few times in a row to get the full experience. Each song is a part and deserves its own little explanation.

Golden Slumber is the song I want my kids to hear and say "my mom used to sing that to us". It has an old lullaby feeling to it. Paul McCartney's vocals are so powerful in creating the tone of this song. He really emphasizes the lyrics. Golden slumbers fill your eyes. Smiles awake you when you rise. Then it lightens up with "Sleep pretty darling, but do not cry..and I will sing a lullaby" The emphasis on lullaby is his voice rising..making you feel so a lullaby should. I sing that to the girls a lot hoping (even though my singing is not that great) the words will make them feel safe.

Carry That Weight: When you combine harmony and trumpet...well it feels triumphant. The Carry that weight harmony is very climatic and just pulls the lullaby aspect to this song in a whole different direction. This song starts out so strong and ends with a hint of venerability. "and in the middle of a celebration..I break down". This song has both an epic guitar and trumpet solo. It reminds me of going away and being on my when I went away to college...the safeness slowly escaping.

The End- This part is classic Beatles..the catchy guitar..the piano...the harmonies. And of course one of the best lines of all time "And in the end, The love you take is equal to the love you make"

4. Wolf Like Me- TV on the Radio
There is singing and dancing along in the car, then there is TV on the Radio singing and dancing in the car. This song (well the whole band) is theatrical and damn catchy. I especially love this song because it is so sexual. It has an adolescent sexual feel to it...a little dirty, a little scary. Sad to say, but this song kinda does it for me. It has an element of enchantment with its use of metaphors (the wolf, the curse, the hideous thing inside). "When the moon is round and full..going to teach you things that will blow your mongrel mind".

This song reminds me of the first time I watched Lord of the Rings. (all three...the are all amazing). To sound extra nerdy..i have a bit of a LOTR fantasy...

5. Forever Young - Jay Z

I have only recently began my love affair with Jay-Z. In the last few years, Jay-Z songs have become play list staples. Forever Young combines both a great hip hop song and a feeling of nostalgia. "Lets dance in style, lets dance for a while, heaven can wait we're only watching the stars".. The Mr. Hudson part is very retro..and almost organic while the Jay-Z piece is hip hop happy and fun. I like this song so much because I actually get pulled two different ways. The Jay-Z part "So lets just stay in the moment, smoke some weed, drink some wine, reminisce, talk some shit, forever young is in my mind." this part is almost are as young as you feel..and having fun with good friends. Good times and especially good friends make you timeless and young. Memories survive long after we are gone, and when you leave such an impression on other people, you remain forever young.

Napoleon Dynamite defined the Mr. Hudson part for me. I can't tie the two items together because the "forever young, I wanna be forever young" part reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite. This played at the scene when they were at prom. Deb had her amazing pink giant sleeve dress and Pedro..well Pedro was awesome. They were slow dancing and this song was playing..the typical high school prom scene brought down by what it actually is..prom. Prom is not some magical theatrical ending to our whole high school experience..its prom. Its what you got all anticipated for your your whole high school life, only to realize its all the same people you see every day doing the exact same thing...with dancing. The song and the moment are supposed to be so beautiful, but in actuality they are a bit sad and pathetic. The characters in Napoleon Dynamite were so funny but so it is fitting their climatic prom moment is anything but.  I am not sure who these dances were magical for, (and I had fun when I went) but they were not for me.


Olivia: what are you drinking?
Me: a chai latte.
Olivia: Mmmmmm. Sounds nice
Me: would you like to try some
Olivia: no. I just like to say the word.chai. Sounds fancy

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Back in the day

aWhen I was a kid cameras had things called "film" in them. We had to take the film to the store and wait for it to be "developed".

Layla: that's crazy

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lord, won't you buy me a night on the town

In the three hours I sat staring at the same paper clip on my desk  wishing away the last three hours of my friday, I got into a deep mental argument about girls night. Yes, girls night. Some friday nights are about sitting on the couch with Layla and Olivia googling "funny cats". You can never get tired of watching a cat run into a wall.  Last friday night, we spent an unfortunate two hours at target and TJ maxx. (unfortunate being that I am broke can't afford the things I a smoking hot pair of 5" Jessica Simpson wedges). The night ended with two tired as hell.."can we please watch Spongebob on the big TV" girls. When did friday night turns into "I hope I don't fall asleep before ten" night. 

At work, I was pondering why girls night is such a "woo-hoo" worthy experience.
 At 31, most people I know are married, in a  serious relationship, knocked up or gay. So the idea of girls prowling the town for single guys is out. (although I am getting close to cougar years). Can girls night be girls at a movie or does booze have to be involved. (Anyone who wants to see Harry Potter would get a giant "Woo-Hoo" from me). Can it be girls night when there are boys involved? If half my friends are male, then why would I want to exclude anyone. Does living and going out in Youngstown, OH really count as a productive girls night? If I have to pay for all my drinks, is that still considered a girls night? (i am a DD, enough said). If I go to a bar and the majority of the people are dressed like they are about to clean their garage...does that count?  So I have decided that due to my limited resources here, I am going to have to  redefine girls night. Girls night is when you hang out with a group of people who make you laugh, have seen you at your worst and best, and  aren't offended if you crack the occasional beaver or fart joke....boys welcome!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Dog Days

I will be the first to admit it...when you have children your pets take a back seat. My dog, who once took up the whole bed nestled between Josh and I is now lucky to find a good place on the couch. Dog beds? forget about it. The cat seems to think that is her bathroom and scratching post. So Monday when I came home from work I had a real eye opener. What had started out as a steamy July day gave way to a early evening thunder shower. We got home around six thirty...I couldn't resist the lure of a home cooked meal from my Mom. The three of use went went about our separate ways. Layla to the bathroom (she can only go in our toilet) and Olivia to play with her new toys. I was sifting through unpaid bills and coupons when I realized the house was unusually quiet.
"Liv-can you go let Nomi out" I said, referring to our almost thirteen year old pit/chow mix. Nomi was Josh's first lady love and remains loyal to all of us in her old age. Liv ran (never walks) to the back room where the pet food is stored. "No Nomi" she calls. "Try the garage" I respond. "not in the garage" she yells. I stopped staring blankly at my closet..something was wrong. I look at the patio was open. "Did you guys leave the patio door open?" I asked. " I shut it" Layla responded..almost too quickly. I recall the door was open when we got I ran outside...hoping I could find Nomi before the Poland Nazi (I mean police) found her and fine me for her once again lost tag. The three of us are calling to her...and i swear even the cat is meowing.

In the back garden near the tomatoes..something catches my eye. I blink..and look closer (not wearing my glasses always seems to mess with me). Is that a pile of dirt on the back corner of the garden? I knew Josh had said something about a raised garden.... (I heard blah blah blah garden). "Nomi?" I called. no movement. This time I was close...almost close enough to touch her...but she wasn't moving. My heart dropped...I feared the worst. The storm and humidity had been too much for her old body to bear. "I didn't leave the door open" was all Layla could say. "Nomi" I called again, a little louder. I was still unsure if I should touch her but I reached out my hand. Slowly she got up..and I gasped. The side of her face was all swollen. She had bumps on her back. I got her into the house and with the help of some deli ham I coaxed her into the living room to examine her. I sent Josh a text as he hadn't responded to any calls..probably in the middle of a dinner rush. "she has been getting bad lately, we are going to have to discuss some things :(" was his response.

Nomi's new spot

If this story had a sad ending..I am not sure I would be able to post it. Three days, a couple allergy pills and some fish oil later, she is a new dog. Today she got a clean bill of health and a fresh round of shots from the vet. The swelling was a bug bite or bee sting of some sort and the shaking and slow moving was most likely due to the trauma of the storm.

While I am grateful that she is ok and that nothing serious is wrong her her..I really have rethought her place in this house. Hopefully with enough bacon strips, fish oil, and a nice place on the couch..she will forgive us and we can give her a couple good years.

Two Lost Souls...

Apparently I have reverted to baby days and took a nap too late in the day. I even thought "i will never sleep tonight". So now my eyes and body are tired but my mind is a speeding train. I was laying there thinking about the last ten to fifteen years and how I got to where I am now.

Like everyone, I have many regrets and many "what ifs". Aside from money problems and the kids..the "what ifs" creep into my mind when I am unable to sleep. (makes for some intense dreaming.) I ask myself the questions like "what if I never moved back here", "what if I never left here to begin with". I wonder if I choose the right career path or experienced love the way it should be. Ultimately I spend a good deal of time second guessing everything.

Motivational Picture by Layla
 Then I come up with the same conclusions: things happen the way they are meant to happen. All roads lead to here and all things happen for a reason. There is no use in questioning or second guessing, or pondering or imagining life any different. Things work out..and challenges are there for learning and growing. Make decisions and be confident they are the right ones. Anyone can rehash the past and draw it out the way they see it now. I know this is vague and perhaps a bit preachy..but it is these conclusions of faith and knowing that (hopefully) will put me to sleep at night. So when its  like "two lost souls living in a fish bowl year after year, running over the same old ground and how we found the same old fears"..just keep the sanity by knowing what happens is going to happen and we can't wish our lives away wondering "what if".

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tangled in tears

Tangled in tears

All Things Olivia

In honor of Olivia's 7th birthday..I have dedicated this post to Olivia...and let Layla and I explore what makes this tiny firecracker tick. As I watch her construct her life through lists, wishlists, to do lists, and birthday activity check lists, I decided the best thing to do would be to make a question list for her.

Olivia's Bday To do 

L: What do you want to be when you grow up?
O: A teacher. it is fun...I want to be like Richelle. I practice being a teacher everyday after school. I would be good at it because I am smart ("and chatty" chimes in Layla). And chatty. Teachers talk a lot. 

K: What is your favorite outfit? 
O: Dresses. I like playing dress up games. blue dresses because blue is my favorite color. 

L: What do you like to learn from somebody?
O: I like to learn animal facts from Layla. 

K:  What kind of car do you want to drive when you get bigger? 
O: I want to drive a car that doesn't have a top. Like one of Papa's cars...but yellow. 

L: What is your favorite animal?
O: Rabbits because they are tiny and cute. 

L: No bigger and wilder animals
O: Bunnies are wild.

K: What is the number one thing you want to do your birthday?
O: Go to Toys R'Us...because it is the biggest and best toy store ever. 

L: Where is your favorite place to go (not toys r us)
O: Columbus...all my favorite people are Jeremy..and Grandma and Alexie..and Lori and uncle Rob..sometimes

K: What is something you want everyone to know about you.
O: Grunt...grunt..grunt. what kind of house do I want when I grow up. a two storied house..with a downstairs...I mean a basement....I like saying basement better

L: What do you like to do?
O: I like to play in my room. I have a bunch of toys in there. 

K: Why cant you sit still? (Olivia is laying sideways across the back of the couch). 
O: Because I am crazy...and I am a monkey...wait. timeout! I need to get some water. this is making me thirsty. I love to run everywhere because I love being fast.  Cause everything I see...its like a big toy to play on. Like that chair...I love to climb on it..

Olivia's "seat"

L: What's your favorite food..your most favorite food. 
O: I'll say peppers....I mean peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

K: How does it feel to be almost 7?
O: Tallish..(Olivia burps)  My finger smells like burp because I burped while my finger was in my mouth

 Now that Layla is in hysterics and Olivia is all wound up...Happy Birthday Olivia. Who would have known that that red hairy baby with scratches all over her face would be such a unique source of entertainment. 

30 days of....

Part of this personal experience is to challenge myself. 30 days of my new self challenge. Somewhere I recall hearing "it only takes 30 days to make something a habit". I have no good habits. I have to remind myself twice to brush my teeth, I am close to never on time, I cant wake up in the morning and exercise...hahaha exercise. 

30 days is my new challenge to make myself better by developing better habits. I work best when I am held accountable for action or even better there is a reward involved. I have been blogging for almost a month. While I haven't gotten every day...I HAVE managed to fill the first month with a good deal of information...

But I am going to start small...start with hygiene. I WILL remember to wash my face before bed. Gross right, hardly. Don't tell me I am the only person who has waken up with that layer of eyeshadow under the eyes. I wonder why at 31 I am still breaking out. I am no dermatologist, but I know dirty skin = clogged pores = zits. (Yes, I said it zits. When did we start using the term acne so much). So starting today...July 12, 2011..I am going to remember to wash my darn face every matter how tired (or buzzed) I am. My reward? Only the BEST bronzer I have ever used. The Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess compact. At $30 it is hardly in my price range. It is worth it for even looking....I spent a day at the beach...natural glow. So if I wash my face every day the bronzer is all mine. 

Day 1: Mission Accomplished 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Nelson's ledges...."where the sun never sets" I love this simple picture of the quarry. We recently went on a camping trip to the Ledges for the Grateful fest. This camper had a fantastic time...complete with bug bites, sunburn and a serious lack of sleep. But it was worth it as - I saw some great music. - I hung out with some incredible people. - I got to lay on the beach and clear my mind. While sleeping in a tent and not bathing is not my ideal way of life it is a small price to pay for the return of my sanity.  Check out my camping survival article.

Camp Survival

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Flower I

Flower I

branching out to new locations...i plan to take over the web!!!

Basement of Doom

There is no new post yesterday because I got into a five hour HGTV trance. I watched couple after couple look through new...and pricey homes. They would look at bathrooms and master bedrooms and decide if it were up to their they were looking to spend almost a half million dollars on a home. There was a couple who settled on a lovely farm house out side of Milwaukee and another couple who went into a bidding war over a bungalow in Toronto. My favorite..of course..was the estate bought in Fiji for almost 2 million.

Then I ask Josh..again...about the stink that always accompanies the air being turned on. We have a large basement project ahead of us..but I figured some animal had crawled into the air conditioner and died a slow death and was now decomposing...but being preserved by air coils.

There is an old mattress in the basement that is getting nasty and moldy. So we decided to get it to the curb since today is trash day. apparently...the connection from the kitchen sink the main drain is now clogged. (hence smell) and there was backed up food in the basement drain. awesome. and now a large community of fruit flies and really did i mention the smell.  I had to run to Wal-mart (because all crisis happen after the safer, cleaner, Target is closed) $65 later I am armed with bug foggers, masks, gloves, bug killer, air freshener, mold and mildew cleaner, and dampness removal crystals.

I thought about those HGTV people in their 400k and 2 mil houses and wondered if they will face such challenges after the cameras are off and they have been in these houses for a few years. Does the 700K old farm house tend to get damp basements in the spring? Does the island paradise of Fiji get a funk after a fall rain storm?

Being a homeowner is trying and expensive..apply all Murphy's laws and hope like hell you don't get sewer bugs in your basement.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


"Do u know it's a scientific fact that women are better at grocery shopping then men? It's science" Josh Taylor

deal of the day

I loved this soft navy silky top when I tried it on at the Limited a few weeks ago. I have become obsessed with all things navy blue! now thanks to 40% off for the holiday and a reward card..I have practically stolen this top

Top:                                            49.40
Discount 40% (code fireworks)    (19.80)
Reward Card                              (15.00)
Final price                                   14.70