Little Hopes

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Blogger just informed me that this will be my 100th post on this blog. I guess it seems fitting, then, that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the time of year we all like to reflect on the many things we are thankful for. And here's how I feel --

Life is hard. It's hard on everyone for lots and lots of different reasons. Those of us who can name 1,001 things about our lives that are wonderful feel even more guilty when we're still struggling with anxiety or depression. Sometimes I'm so tired that I can feel it in my bones. Sometimes I feel like people ask me so many questions and I just can't take it anymore. Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing with my life and what the future holds. But the thing I'm most thankful for today is that, even though all those things are true, I can think of several things that I'm very thankful for that occurred recently. I believe that's called hope.

Hope does not disappoint. Hope is the strongest magic of all. A whole stack of memories never equal one little hope.

My little hopes of late:

Sunlight streaming through window just so...

Beautiful billboards for The Nutcracker, which is the most painful, exhausting, stressful, horrible, epic, best experience of the year...

Happening upon the perfect pink dress by chance and finding out the dress was designed by a couture label as their reinvention of Sleeping Beauty. I'd get married in this dress...

And speaking of princesses -- reminders from Story at just the right moments that I'm magic and Snow White...

When I'm going about my business around the house and look over and see a rabbit giving himself a bath. A rabbit just hops around here all day long. This is my life...

Putting down your Little Debbie Cakes a split second before you take a bite because you realize it looks like Clayface from Batman...

Watching the Mountaineers with my little brother and remembering how lucky we are he's here at all...

My seven little moments of light of late. And moments of light are a major reason to be thankful.

7QTF: On Louie DePalma, Mail and a Very Loved Rabbit

Friday, November 22, 2013

Joining up with Jen, as per Friday usual!

1. When you read "per usual" is it in Danny DeVito's voice? Danny DeVito in his role as Louie DePalma on Taxi, one of the greatest shows ever made. You either know what I'm talking about or you don't. You don't? Ugh. Fine. Minute 5:58 here. Thankyouverymuch.

2. I cut the inside of my lip the other day with my tooth, which I smacked on a Miller Lite bottle. I was beginning to take a drink as I spotted the world's LARGEST cricket just staring at me. Silently mocking me. And just moments ago I cut the roof of my mouth on a fun size Baby Ruth. Do other people have these types of problems?

3. Did you watch the Gilmore Girls? I did. I still do. It was a sad, sad day when that show went off the air. I loved Lorelai. (Who didn't?) I had to answer on a quiz once if I would compare myself to any character on television who would it be (this was pre-Once Upon a Time, FYI), and I said Lorelai Gilmore. She had this thing where she only looked through her mail once a month. She said if she looked through it every day all she got was junk and bills, but if she let it pile up she got cards and actual letters from people, making the experience far more enjoyable. I think I'm getting there. I live in a garage apartment, so my mail is delivered through a mail slot to my front door. My front door leads directly up a flight of stairs into my apartment, so that mail just lands there on the bottom of the stairs. When I get home at night, I look down and all I ever see are circulars, junk mail and bills. Boo. So, as generally neat as I am, I sometimes just let the mail pile up.

4. While I live in a city of almost 50,000 people (I understand it's not a metropolis but not a small town by any means), what I love is the sense of community. The local high school, Huntington High, was 10-0 in its regular season of football and is now still fighting to be state football champion. Around town there are various pizza places, gas stations and other places that have changed their lettered marquees to read "Good Luck Highlanders" or "Way to Go Huntington High." It's so small-town, I know, and I just love it.

5. I wrote this post yesterday on books from my childhood, and now I want to throw all my weekend plans out the window, go to the library, grab up all the kids' books I love and spend all weekend at home on the couch reading. And maybe I will. We gave our kids this Sunday off from Nutcracker rehearsal to rest (wish we could give them next Sunday after Thanksgiving, but it's too close to our show and we need the time) so I have a Saturday AND a Sunday free for the first time since Labor Day weekend. And I think I spent that weekend in Morgantown visiting my grandparents and watching football. So, really, the last time I had a whole weekend free to do whatever I wished at home was sometime in the summer. I do have to run some errands Saturday and get some show-related things done, but maybe I'll find some time to squeeze in a re-read of a Nancy Drew or Baby-Sitters Club book.

6. Sometimes I like to pick up Snicks and hold him for a bit. He doesn't love it, but I don't do it for him. I also love to bury my hands in his soft fur. I don't have great hands -- they are usually painful and hard from my cuticle-picking obsession -- and that's the only thing that makes them feel better. I am not the world's most wonderful person, but I hope that God may consider taking a day or two off my time in Purgatory because of how much I loved and cared for Baby Snicks, one of His littlest and most helpless creations.

7. This article. This article right here. I know I'm not a parent, so maybe I don't get a say, but I am around kids of all ages a LOT because of the dance studio, and I think this is one of the most accurate things I have read in a long time. A couple of years ago I may have been shocked that there were kids in the world who brought parents along for job interviews, but I have seen and heard some things over the past few years that make this scenario far less surprising. And I have good, hard-working kids for the most part. But I look around and think -- raising kids in this day and age would be SCARY. I don't know how you all do it. Ten years ago I would have never said this -- and honestly as a kid I probably thought all homeschooled kids were weird -- but if I had a kid today and the ability, I really think I'd homeschool. I'm not a doomsday theorist and I don't think the world is going to hell in a handbasket (although I do think we have SERIOUS problems that seem to be getting worse) but I really think there is something to the theory that we are raising a generation of helpless whiners.

And on that super uplifting note, I'm outtie 3000. Go see Jennifer.

Ramona Quimby, Nancy Drew, Anne Shirley and Me

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A girl I knew in college posted on Facebook today that she was grateful to enjoy reading now that someone had turned her on to Twilight and she realized how much she loves reading. Now, I am not here to judge what people are reading. In fact, I find that SUPER annoying. Who cares if I'm not reading a great work of litrachure (as the English say) as long as I'm reading? I read the Twilight series, I won't lie. I enjoyed it. It kept my attention.

What caught my eye with this post is that she didn't start loving to read until she read Twilight. That only came out a few years ago. So for the majority of her life...... she didn't love reading?

That concept is so foreign to me. My mother loved to read and she read to us. Every day. Every night. We spent our summer vacations at the library going through stacks of books. I can't imagine a childhood where I didn't read.

The first chapter book I ever read was Ramona the Brave. The book cover was maroon with Ramona hiding under the covers, and the pages were worn with my years and years of re-reading it. Oh Ramona Quimby. I loved Ramona. I wanted to be Ramona. Who was in first grade in 1991 who DIDN'T want to be Ramona? I read all of Beverly Cleary's books about Ramona, and the ones about Ellen Tebbits too. She took ballet. I couldn't imagine a life without Ramona.

And what about The Secret Garden? Oh Mary. What a life she lead. My sister Erin and I loved Secret Garden. We spent hours with Mary and Dickon as they tended the garden. We also used to rent the movie from the video store as often as we could. Not too long ago I was in my friend Sarah's backyard and she was showing me some greenery she had been cutting down from her back fence. I said "It looks like the Secret Garden!" And Sarah said "I thought that too!" Sarah, a bosom friend as Anne Shirley would say. And speaking of...

...Could you imagine a life without Anne of Green Gables? No adventures of Anne-with-an-e Shirley? No summers spent in the warm breeze in Avonlea?

The Phantom Tollbooth. Half Magic. The Baby-Sitters Club. Nancy Drew. The Boxcar Children. CAN YOU IMAGINE BEING 9 AND NEVER HAVING SOLVED A MYSTERY WITH HENRY, JESSIE, VIOLET AND BENNY? 

How magical the written word is can't be put into words. Ironic, isn't it? Books are the answer to what makes a childhood magic.

Now I'm desperate to go find a copy of Nancy Drew and the Clue of the Tapping Heels.

Seven Quick Takes Friday: On Opossums, Cary Grant and Saying My Name

Friday, November 15, 2013

It's Seven Quick Takes Friday with Jen!

1. So... that noise I was hearing last Friday? It has reached epic proportions. Epic as in, there is something up there, and it's BIG. It's been so loud all week. Every night, around 7:30 or 8, I start hearing loud noises up in the ceiling and a lot of rustling around. Things reached their climax last night, my favorite night of the week, Thursday. I came home from dance as I always do, Sheetz nachos in hand, around 7:30. As I was changing out of my leotard and into my pajamas I heard this huge noise from the living room. I ran in there (not sure what my plan was since I was, well, de-clothed and un-armed, and saw this:

Yeah. That's my ceiling tile having been pushed down by whatever wild animal is currently housing itself up there. Needless to say, I took my nachos, my dance studio work, my laptop, my rabbit and his food and barricaded myself in my room. My landlord (who is a friend) got an exterminator over today. The exterminator said he thinks it's either a raccoon (fabulous) or an opossum (even better). He believes it is getting in through the garage (I live in a garage apartment) and somehow making its way up to my ceiling. He thinks it goes out and about during the day, then returns to my home (where it's warm) to spend the night. (So... really... this opossum and I are on the same time schedule.) The thing is -- I'm not a baby by any means, but I'm really sort of over it. I feel like I'm under siege in my own home. Even more upsetting for me is I'm worried about Snickers. He's a small bunny and has literally NO way to defend himself. Today I made the decision to shut him in the spare room that houses his litterbox, water and food with the hopes that if the animal got in the living room, he'd be protected behind the bedroom door. However, I then started worrying that instead of locking the intruder OUT I may have locked Snicks in, basically turning the spare room into the arena from the Hunger Games. And I love Snicks, but dude, he's the tribute who dies in the cornucopia in the first 30 seconds of the games. He just is.

2. You know that system where you do something you don't want to do and then you get rewarded for it? I believe most people refer to it as a "bribe." Well, I had to bribe myself to do my laundry tonight. You may recall that I. HATE. LAUNDRY. I ran some water on a beer glass and put it in the freezer before I did the chores I like, dusting and vacuuming, and told myself I could drink this cold beer ONLY if I did my dang laundry. Parents of little ones, bribes STILL work when you're 29!

3. As I was vacuuming my living room, I suddenly got that Destiny's Child song "Say My Name" in my head. I have NO idea why that jem popped up (incidentally, I guess that's spelled "gem," but I wrote "jem" because, hey, so outrageous!) because I haven't heard that song in yearssssss. I started singing it and quickly found out I remembered all the words. All. Also, that video? Baller.

4. You know what one of the absolute best things in the world to hear ever is? The music at the very beginning of an old movie right when the MGM or Warner Brothers or Columbia Pictures logo is on the screen. It's a melody that says you're about to be transported to another time where the men are dashing and the women are so classy. You know what I'm talking about:


In the event you were going to stick your curling wand in your eye, please don't.

6. My sister Erin just found and posted this on Facebook, and, well. Just click. Click and hover your mouse over all the foods. Pay particular attention to the yellow frosted donut (my fav)... you'll be glad you did!

7. Do you have one of those friends who is always doing something generous and kind for you, but for whom you feel like you never really get to do anything nice? My friend Sarah is that friend. I have been the beneficiary of her generosity so many times from big things like trips to Keeneland to things like coffee. Well, Sarah's birthday was earlier this week so today we went to lunch and I got her a little gift, and although it wasn't much, it made me feel really good to finally be able to do something for her.

7a. Today is my dad's birthday. So a very happy birthday to the person in my life who ensures I always have a working washing machine, a clean car, no flat tires and that I'm never in want of a ceiling fan. He taught me to pump gas, drive a car, change a flat, check tire pressure, how a water pressure tank works, how to sew a button, to love the mass and a million other things!

Go see Jen for more fun!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The other day my sister Erin and I were discussing, for whatever reason, what age we were when we started being responsible for bathing ourselves. Honestly, I could not remember. The closest thing I could remember is a very specific incident where I remember bathing my sister Emma, and she was most definitely 7. Now, it may have been one of those cases where it was my role to supervise and help her wash her hair, I don't know, but I definitely remember drying her off. I remember because she asked me a really profound question, surrounding a really difficult circumstance my family was facing at the time, and that is why I so clearly remember what we were doing and how old we were.

Emma used to have this long, curly hair. I remember, after washing it that night, I combed it out for her. As I remembered, I could almost smell the shampoo -- it came in a little bottle with a big animal eye on it and smelled like strawberries. And it made me wonder: when I helped Emma comb her hair for the last time, did I know it was going to be the last time?

I should probably note that I am the oldest of five kids. There's me then my sister Erin who's 2 years younger than me, then Alex who is 5 years younger, then Thomas who is 7 years younger, then Emma who is 10 years younger. So I spent a lot of my younger life helping out with little kids. I helped with baths and meals and diaper changes. And I know that some of the time I did resent it.  Not most of the time, but some of the time.

When my mom used to serve dinner, she'd always prepare the plates of the youngest kids first, so she could place in them in the fridge to cool off so the little ones wouldn't burn their tongues. I reminded my mom of that not too long ago, and it made her smile. I wonder when that last dinner was that we did that for Emma? Did we consciously decide we weren't going to do it anymore? Or did we just stop one day? Was it just a nondescript Tuesday evening when I placed Emma's meal of pasta and vegetables in the fridge for the last time? When I changed Emma's last diaper, was I aware it was the last time? What about when I held her hand to take her to the bathroom at a restaurant?

This past summer I was at an outdoor movie downtown and needed to use the bathroom. When I entered, I saw an older girl, maybe 12, with an exasperated look leaning on a stall door. I could hear a little girl's voice from inside the stall. I smiled at the older girl and said "One day they become old enough to take themselves to the bathroom" and she smiled. Did I walk Emma to the bathroom at a McDonald's for the 437th time not realizing I would never do that again?

Things were definitely not perfect in or with my family growing up, but sometimes I really think I'd give anything to go back for one day. One day when I'm 12 and Erin is 10 and Alex is 7 and Thomas is 5 and Emma is 2. It's 1996 and we're all at our old house on Young Court. I'm pushing Emma on a swing and we're all playing outside in the backyard.

But then I remember... it's 2013, and I'm 29. And Emma is 19, a sophomore in college and able to push herself on a swing. Things change so quickly, don't they? We didn't know. We didn't know it would be the last time cooling off the kids' food in the fridge. We didn't know that was the last time Emma would need supervision in the bathroom or someone to comb her tangles. It's probably best that we didn't know or I'd probably still be combing Emma's hair right now.

This is us at Christmas 2011. I have no idea where last year's Christmas photo is. Shows you how often we take pictures together. 


Friday, November 8, 2013

Linking up with Jen today!

1. There is something in my ceiling. Like an animal. I have been known to get mice from time to time, and for a while I thought it was a mouse. Now I'm not so sure. I mean, maybe it is still a mouse, but I think it's something much larger, like a squirrel or maybe a bird? No, it's something heavier than a bird, so a squirrel? Oh God, I don't know what it is, but I'm trying to play out scenarios in my head to determine what I'm going to do when a raccoon falls out of my ceiling. :/ This is happening as we speak.

2. I made the comment to someone yesterday that Snicks likes to lay under the bed "in his free time." Am I kidding? Does this look like the face of someone who has anything but free time?

Something pressing on his schedule?

3. Remember those flowers? Well here they are now:

Yep. Right on schedule.

4. On KLOVE they are doing a "Home for the Holidays" contest. People write in and talk about a person with whom they'd like to spend the holidays, someone they haven't seen in a long time. Everyone whose story makes it on the air gets a CD, and some people will actually win flights to see that person for the holidays. It's so nice. I thought about who I'd want to see for the holidays if I wrote in, and then I realized: no one. Everyone that I'd want to see at the holidays, I get to see. And I can't say how fortunate that made me feel.

5. The time change has really affected Snicks. He likes to sleep under my bed, and around 10 p.m. nightly he runs in there and lays down. If I'm not home, he still does it. However, since last Sunday, it's been 11 p.m. Like clockwork. He obviously can't open a door (newsflash) so I leave the door cracked a bit open for him. At 11 p.m. he BUSTS in. I think he likes to assert his independence. It's a routine: I get it bed around 10/10:30, he busts the door open at 11, I get out of bed and shut the door.

6. If I hear even three seconds of that Justin Timberlake song "TKO" it is in my head for days. The thing is, I don't know the words. How is that even possible? It's an endless loop in my head: TKOOO, TKOOOOO, TKOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

7. Hypothetically, if a raccoon, opossum and/or squirrel came through your ceiling and ended up on your living room floor, what would you do? Hypothetically of course.

Go see Jen for more. I have to sit here and stare at my ceiling holding a broom. Ugh.

Golden Grahams and Apple Jacks

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I pulled a reusable water bottle out of my cupboard today and put some water in it to take to mine and Sarah's 7:30 yoga class. I don't think I can describe in words how proud I was of myself. I think it was the biggest, most responsible accomplishment of my day; I was, for once, one of those people who took a reusable bottle of water to yoga class. Holla.

I've talked before about my issues quieting my mind during, well, anything really, but specifically shavasana. Tonight, it was Golden Grahams. Yep, the cereal. I was thinking maybe I wanted cereal to eat when I got home, and suddenly I started thinking about Golden Grahams and could not stop. I have not had a Golden Graham in ages. I certainly do not have them at home. I ate Apple Jacks instead, but, man, Golden Grahams, those would have been tasss-ty.

This may be biased, I don't know, but I think Baby Snicks is THE CUTEST rabbit/animal/thing in general of all. time. That may be a bold claim, but you just see what you think:

Yep. You just want to pet his little head and rub his little ears! That lives in my house. Eeep!

no MD

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I got home from work today around 4:30 and I was pretty hungry. I thought about eating cereal but then I was like waitttttttttttttttttttttt what if I want grilled cheese later? Will that be weird? Then I thought FORGET THIS! This is America...I can eat this cereal and then, later, if I want a grilled cheese, I can have that too. So that is what I did. I ate Fruit Loops and then a couple hours later ate my grilled cheese. And pie.

This is how I define living on the edge for sure.

I tore myself away from Revenge of the Bridesmaids (it was tough) to watch something else on Netflix. I chose Emily Owens, MD. (Incidentally, one girl from Revenge of the Bridesmaids is actually on Emily Owens, MD... and there was an episode where another of the girls guest starred. No lie. Heehee.) I had watched a couple episodes when it was actually on TV and thought it was really cute, and then they cancelled it,which was sad. At any rate, I think I like it so much because I am Emily Owens, no MD. She is neurotic and awkward and really, really weird. If you've seen it, you know exactly what I'm talking about. She lives all up inside her head and overthinks everything. It's so, so, so me. Which makes me sad that they're not making any more new episodes. Boo.

I've been needing new toothpaste for a while. I've been squeezing the death out of my current tube -- you know what I mean. I always, always, always get Crest. I swear by it. It's what my mom always got us growing up. At any rate, I was looking all all the kinds today (Scope! ProHealth! Whitening! Reverse gingivitis!) and I thought -- today is the day I try something new! I considered all my options and finally decided: whitening plus Scope! Perfect. Yeah I just brushed my teeth and realized my "new" toothpaste is just my old toothpaste in a new package. Predictable Patty right here.

And that's it. That's it for today.

Seven Quick Takes Friday: Saturday Edition!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Joining Jen and the gang... a day late and a dollar short!

1. I had this truly horrible experience with Comcast this past week, which resulted in me not having TV for about five days. I have to say, after not having the TV on that long, being in the silence and not catching up with any shows........... I really like TV. Haha. Did you think I was going to say I really realized how much nicer the quiet is or that I should be reading more? Please.

2. While my TV was out my sister gave me her Netflix password so I could have something to watch. Apparently I could create my own profile, which I did. Then I realized, however, that Netflix will notify Erin (or she'll just be able to see) that all I watched (literally, ALL) was Revenge of the Bridesmaids. Over and over. I LOVE that movie.

3. My friend Sarah was telling me the other day that she has really gotten into this TV show "Reign." This is the kind of thing we love -- it's just straight up trash TV. I hadn't gotten to see it (no TV, remember?) but I caught up this afternoon and watched the three episodes that have been on thus far. IT IS SO GOOD. It is basically just Gossip Girl with different clothes. It's a must-watch!

4. People really like to see photos of Snicks. I mean, they just do. He's really, really cute. Sometimes I'm asked if I ever take any video of him, and the answer is always no. You never know what he's going to do or when he's going to do it, he doesn't do tricks and really, he doesn't do anything. Proof in point -- this is pretty much what he does:

5. Last weekend I took some of my ballet students to a dance intensive weekend where they took classes in ballet, pointe, hip hop, jazz, contemporary, musical theater and modern. We had such a good time. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the weekend:

That blur is Story!

So... the room didn't have a lot of room for viewing, so I took a bunch of photos through the blinds outside like a creepy Cathy.

This was my favorite class of the weekend: my oldest kids' contemporary hip hop class.

These are some of my oldest girls in ballet.

6. Excuse the world's shoddiest photo, but have you tried Jamberry nails? I wouldn't call myself a fad girl, but I'd seen a lot of people on Facebook raving about them. My friend Tricia is a consultant and did a fundraiser for the studio last spring. I am HOOKED. They are basically stickers you heat up with a hair dryer and put on your nails. They are "nail polish" but 100 times better because they don't chip AND they stay on for several weeks! I went back to polish for a few weeks this fall because I needed new Jamberry but kept putting off buying, then I found some old ones. I still had enough to do a manicure, so I did. I am impressed all over again! So much easier than polish and stays on SO much longer. They have so many colors and designs. Also, I'm the kind of person that can't even stand life with one chipped nail (OCD, much?) so these are perfect! You take them off by blasting them with a hair dryer and peeling them off!

*I'm not getting anything for saying this or linking to Tricia. I REALLY like Jamberry and think they offer a great product.

7. And I'm off! Sarah and I are doing something tonight, we're not sure what yet, so I'm going to finish watching the WVU game (we're coming back!) while we decide what to do with ourselves!

Hope you've had a good weekend! Go see Jennifer.
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