Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Man in the Wheelchair

Every morning on our drive to the babysitter's house, we pass the new elementary school that is being built. This construction has been in process for well over a year and it has been fascinating to watch a huge empty field become a massive two story school, complete with sidewalks, grass and a parking lot. But what really catches my eye every day is the man in the wheelchair.

The man in the wheelchair and neck brace is probably in his 60's. He rolls himself over (I assume he lives nearby) and parks himself in the same spot every morning. He then proceeds to smoke and watch the construction workers. I have no idea how long he stays there, but I can tell you that he arrives super early since we pass him at approximately 7:30 each day.

I can't explain why it makes me so sad to see this man. I wonder what's wrong with his neck and/or back. Why is he in a wheelchair? Is he a veteran? Did he have a bad car wreck? Does he have some type of genetic medical condition that confines him to a wheelchair? I wonder if he used to work in construction and maybe that's why he enjoys being in this environment. Or maybe he lives alone and just has no other way to pass his time. Maybe his kids are grown and never come see him.

When I first saw him, he would watch across the street from the job site. Now he has taken to wheeling himself onto the brand new sidewalk - apparently to get a better view. But a few days ago, I was surprised, and very happy, to see him right in the middle of a group of construction workers who were talking and laughing with him while they had their morning coffee and cigarettes.

I don't know anything about this man. I don't know his life story. But I do know that I hope he is still wheeling himself to the school when my kids begin there in August. I would like to say hello. And ask him his name.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My First Meme

To be honest, I'm still not entirely sure what "meme" means...but I'm willing to give it a try:) I borrowed this from "Bloggin' About Books"-- thanks!

Do you remember how you developed a love of reading?

I can't remember a time when I didn't love books and the act of reading. I know that I learned how to read while in first grade, but I had spent the years before that being read to and staring at numerous pictures book. I watched Reading Rainbow every summer (one of my favorite perks of being out of school during the week!), participated in our library's awesome summer programs every year, and practically plowed down the door to our school book fairs when the Scholastic truck would pull into the parking lot.

What are some books you loved as a child?

Hands down- my favorite book was "Pebbles and BamBam and the Witch Who Ran Out of Jizzle". During my elementary years, while my peers were outside playing, I was sitting in the peacock chair in my bedroom perusing "My First Dictionary". I think that's why I am a fairly good speller:)

I also loved Heidi, The Boxcar Children series, John Bellair's books, anything by Betsey Miles, Goodnight Mr. Tom, Sweet Valley Twins series, Babysitter's Club series.

Writing this is making me want to go bust out my boxes of books I've saved that I just couldn't bear to part with:)

What is your favorite genre?

I enjoy women's fiction, some chick-lit, and I'm dedicated to a few romance authors. Mysteries, memoirs, travelogues, food writings. Religious books, parenting books, self-help titles. I'm really not picky!

Do you have a favorite novel?

Can't do it. Just can't do it. Breaking into a cold sweat just thinking about trying to narrow it down.

Where do you usually read?

Well, it's really determined by season:

Summertime-- I read a lot on the front porch and on the back patio... depending on where the kids are playing.

Wintertime-- My main spot is the living room couch while curled up under my favorite blanket.

But regardless of the time of year, I read almost every night in bed. I find it difficult to go to sleep without reading at least a couple pages first.

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
Absolutely. I usually have one, sometimes two nonfiction titles going, and one novel. I find this method balances it out and keeps me from getting restless with what I'm reading.

Do you read non-fiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
Not really. To me, the best non-fiction works usually read just as easily a a novel does.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out from the library?

I check out a lot of stuff from the library. I work very near to our downtown library, so I often walk over on my lunch break- usually at least once a week. That being said, I do get sucked into a buying spree every now and then when I see those items that I just don't think I can last another minute without. Of course, there are also those authors that I always buy. I know they will be good enough that I will want to own them. Twice a year though, we have two large local Friends of the Library sales that my friends and I go crazy at. I do a LOT of stocking up there, and often buy the things that I've read and loved that have been borrowed from the library to begin with.

Do you keep most of the books you buy?

Yes, it's a sickness really. I LOVE being surrounded by books!

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them?

A sweet little Golden book called "We Like Kindergarten"; my childhood favorite "Pebbles and Bam-Bam and the Witch Who Ran Out of Jizzle; Berenstain Bear books. Although the Arthur books were technically released after I was a "child", I still really enjoy them as do the kids. Oh.. .and the Miss Nelson books...we love those as well. I'm still searching for my copy of "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch. "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein is also up on the list of TBR to the kiddos soon.

What are you reading now?

Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott (I love her nonfiction works-- this is my first try at her fiction); Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner; The Book Thief.

What's next?

I Was Told There'd Be Cake- essays by Sloane Crosley; The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs; Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris.

What books would you like to re-read?

I often re-read the Harry Potter books , the In Death series by JD Robb, and anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Under the Tuscan Sun, Bella Tuscany (both by Frances Mayes), A Year In Provence (Peter Mayle), Operating Instructions, Traveling Mercies, and Operating Instructions (all by Anne Lamott) are also common re-reads for me. It's about time for me to re-read Eat Pray Love as well. I adored it and want to treasure it all over again.

Who are your favorite authors?

Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb, Jayne Castle, John Dunning, Frances Mayes, Peter Mayle, Anne Lamott, Brad Meltzer, J.K. Rowling... I could really go on and on with this answer, so I'll stop now:)

So there it is.. my first meme. Off to bed now... with a book, of course.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I'm getting married in 12 days.

Holy shit!

Ok--now that that is out, I can continue. After almost 7 years together, two children, and a mortgage, Darrell (aka Jr.) and I are getting married 8.8.08. The planning is almost complete, I have just a few last things to buy. Tuxedos have been rented, honeymoon arrangements are made, and my dress is almost complete. (Shout out to my girl Heather!!) The kids have been working on their parts in the wedding, complete with little fun surprises for the ceremony itself. Hair appointments are nail appointments are set, new shoes have been properly scuffed on concrete (so that I don't fall on my ass!), and the photographer is ready to shoot.

That being said, I'm really surprised by how I'm FEELING as the big day approaches. So far I haven't been anxious or nervous. I didn't expect to really feel anxious since we've been together for so long anyway, and nerves aren't really an issue since I perform so much. Standing in front of a crowd will be easy as cake if I'm not singing:) But I have suddenly turned very emotional about the whole thing. A simple song, the thought of my son wearing his tuxedo tails, or my daughter's sheer excitement to wear her new shoes can all put me in tears.

I recently read an interesting book titled "Surrendering to Marriage" by Iris Krasnow, and I think that I may be able to blame my current emotional state on it. It's one thing to KNOW that you're getting married, but reading this book made me fully realize that I AM GETTING MARRIED. (Sorry for the all caps, but that's how it appears in my brain:)) There were a couple passages that really spoke to me that I wanted to share.

"Chuck loved me when I gained fifty-five pounds, pregnant with our twins; he loves the fiber of my being, not the packaging. I am who I really am with Chuck, all shades, from great to horrific, adoring to surly, the whole spectrum that comes with real-time living. When I ask him if he thinks we'll be married forever, he always says, 'Sure, why not?'. And I always respond: 'How do you know that?' And his answer is always the same: 'Because you are my wife'.

"We share neither blood nor genes, perhaps not even common interests. Yet we met and married and now share a home, in-laws, and children. It can be hell."

"It's all so selfish, really, being in love. The more deeply we love another depends on how deeply he or she makes us love ourselves."

I believe it has hit me. That this is forever. For better or worse. Sickness and health. And all that jazz.

Don't get me wrong. I have no doubts, no qualms, no desire to walk away. But I do know that I'm really glad I waited till I was thirty to get married. There's no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't have had the strength for this if I had gotten married at 24 when I got pregnant. It's going to be hard, a lot of work, and likely really painful at times. But I also know that it's going to be fulfilling, uplifting, and a whole lot of fun.

Wish us luck!!!


What happens when your kids have way too many toys?

They make a dress out of a Wal-mart sack instead.



Saturday, July 26, 2008

And I'm finally here!

Well, here I am... after weeks of browsing others blogs, I've finally created my own page. To be honest, I'm not certain it's because I have so much to say, but because I was frustrated by not being able to comment on other's blogs. :) Everytime I went to create a comment, I was a little irritated by the fact that I had to have a google e-mail account to start a blog. Now please understand that I'm not all that technologically blessed. Certainly not enough to understand the ins & outs and whys & hows of why google is the only email provider that links with this site. All I know is that I have a gazillion e-mails, all with different screen names since my name of choice seems to often be taken. So suffice to say that I was a little leery of adding yet another address to my e-mail collection.

But once I let go of that lil' hang-up, I arrived. And I must say... I am so happy to be here! Lately I seem to have a ton of random stuff just swirling through my head, and I'm totally psyched to have a place to release it all. Even if no one even reads it, I know I will feel worlds better just getting it out of my head.

But for now, I just wanted to say hello to any and all in the big vast world of blogging who may read this. Thanks for letting me join your little circle:)