Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pandora's Box

I've mentioned before how much I love, love, love to blog-hop. I land on someone's blog (usually one about decorating or just randomness), then I look down their list of blogs which they visit, find a blog name that intrigues me for whatever reason, and with a click! I'm in someone else's world. How I love to visit. I learn about their families, their hopes, their heartbr(aches), their homes. I think I'm what would be called a lurker in most cases. I think that is a person who visits, but does not make their presence known with a comment or such. I think I'm a bit shy when it comes to comments (okay, for those who know me, stop laughing at the word "shy"). When I leave a comment, after all, they can link back to me, for Pete's sake. That means they can read my posts and the insecure little girl inside of me starts to freak and have performance anxiety. For crying out loud, I've only given my blog address to about six people and even though I love them dearly, it still freaks me out. Plus, I'm not really great about posting on a regular basis. Not sure what stops me on that one 'cause I have so many thoughts rattling around my brain at any given moment. Sheesh.

Anyway, that is not the reason for this post's title, although it seems very apropos for the above rambling. This post is just about another thank you I am extending to the blogosphere and, most specifically, to Meg at Whatever. As I hopped this morning, I read one of her posts about many miscellaneous thoughts. She had one sentence that especially caught my eye---
my new favorite pandora station is Adele. (just type in Adele...after you register)

fun music and mostly all clean.....groovin' while i am blogging or cooking.

What the heck is pandora, I wondered. So, again, I clicked. I'm so happy I could cry. It's a FREE music site where you can create your own "radio stations" that play music you like/choose. I never heard of this before, have you? My son has, so that probably means I'm just clueless. This is what you do: 1) register, 2) type in the name of an artist you like, 3) wait. Soon, Pandora will create a radio station of similar artists and music. You can keep or delete the selections she brings to you. The reason I'm so extra delighted today is that I have been lamenting the fact that I don't have enough wonderful Christmas music to play right now. I've been trying to add to my collection, but I'm cheap and the cd's I've purchased don't cut it. I plugged in the name Amy Grant and here I am sitting here right now listening to my heart's content. And better yet is the fact that it is snowing outside. Thank you, Meg. Thank you for your random thought.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Seeing Ghosts in IHOP

Jim and I went looking at sinks for our reno project at Menard's, Home Depot and Lowe's this cold Sunday. Afterward, we made a quick stop at IHOP for a quick breakfast-lunch. We sat down, I looked across the aisle and my heart skipped a beat. There were ghosts sitting in the booth across from us. It was a hopeful split second before reality set in. Tears began to pour and refused to stop. The menu before me became a blur. With stolen glances, I looked at his shoes, shiny black. Her hair was white and neatly, yet naturally coiffed. She wasn't as tiny as my little mum nor he as tall as Dad. He wore a tie with his dress shirt and a gray tweed sport coat, so familiar. Her face sweetly composed as she tenderly helped him with his overcoat, adjusting the shoulder as he shrugged his shoulders into it. Their eyes met briefly before they turned to walk away.

It would have been Dad helping Mom into her coat. He was a gentleman. No matter if he attended a church service or not, Sundays were made for dressing up and he did. A sport coat, shirt and tie and dress pants were his uniform for the day. There was always a comment made when Dad would arrive on Sundays to visit Mom at the Greenwood Center, her "home" for the last few years of her life. "Mr. D! Why are you all dressed up?," the staff would ask. "It's Sunday," was always his reply. Mom was a tiny thing, barely five foot in her stocking feet. Dad stretched out at 6'4." Mutt and Jeff the two of them were, yet they could dance like Fred and Ginger. Oh, how we all loved to watch them dance.

I miss them.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Fave's 11.7.08

Woo-hoo! Friday Fave's on, get this--Friday! So, call me simple. It's a simple pleasure and I relish it.

My favorite five things from this week:
1. Brianna. Brianna is a 7th grade student in my school and an absolute and unequivocal delight. With her mom's permission, I videotaped a question and answer session with her. Every November, the Guidance Department sponsors a month-long focus on diversity. This year, I chose the diversity focus to revolve around awareness and sensitivity to those with disabilities (and thank you, Five String Guitar for being the inspiration for the focus this year). Brianna shared her experiences resulting from being a student with Cerebral Palsy. She was VERY excited to share her story and has such a wonderfully warm attitude about it all. Not an ounce of self-pity existed. You know, it takes a lot of guts to expose yourself like that to your middle school peers. Lots of guts. (That's her walker to the right).
2. Total spastic, system-cleansing laughter. I've been at a conference in Indianapolis these last two days. Last night, my colleagues and I got lost on the way to finding a restaurant for dinner. After a serendipitous turn of events, we had crazy times finding a spot in the hotel parking lot. This resulted in uncontrollable laughter and tears that felt just so incredibly good. It was one of those moments when you just had to be there. To try to explain it all would make absolutely no sense to you. Just take my word for it and laugh with me.
3. A fabulous keynote presenter. Michele Borba gave a dynamic and inspiring presentation on the issue of bullying in schools. My mind was reeling with ideas for the coming year. Awesome.
4. Bamboo. After bringing home a gazillion samples from every hardwood flooring store in a 30-mile radius, Jim and I have finally settled on the wood for our hardwood floors. Good golly, I absolutely hate the decision-making that comes with a renovation project. Too many details to consider. I don't know how other people thrive doing it.
5. Warm fuzzy compliments. After reading the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I learned that my primary love language is Words of Affirmation. That means I need words of encouragement and affirmation to fill my "love tank" and keep me going. My husband once told me that I was a "low maintenance wife." It doesn't take much to keep me happy (okay, so that might be true most days). I don't need presents on my birthdays, Mothers' Day or on my anniversary (Don't get me wrong. I LOVE presents, I just don't need them to be happy). I don't want a lot of bling. I don't demand a lot of time and I give Jim a lot of needed time to himself (I just asked Jim and this is what he is telling me. No, I am not holding a weapon to his throat). Anyway, two nice things happened to me today. At the conference, I ran into one of my counselor intern students whom I taught a few years ago at Indiana University South Bend. In the course of our conversation, she told me that I was the best teacher she had in her Masters program. Love tank arrow bounced on "FULL." Boi-oi-oing! Then when I got home and checked my emails, I had several teachers who wrote to say how much they enjoyed the video of Brianna which was shared with students today. They also mentioned that wonderful discussion ensued with their classes. Empathy, compassion and understanding became evident in our students. Exactly what I prayed for. We aren't done yet and it's a continual process to encourage kids (and) adults to be sensitive and aware of the issues, but it is a start and I am thrilled.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Friday Fave's

In my blog-hopping craze last week, I came across one woman who always posts a Friday's Favorite Five. She lists five of her favorite things from the week. I liked that idea, so I'd like to try to duplicate it. I was going to start last week, but the days ran away with me and it was no longer Friday. Something about breaking the rules stopped me from doing it anyway. What a dork. And here it is Saturday morning of the second week and I still haven't done it. Gah! My excuse is that we had company arrive from Massachusetts last night and I was getting the house and beds ready. So, if I hold myself to posting this on Fridays, I may never get started. Silly girl, I can break my own rules, can't I?

So here goes, my Friday Fave's on a Saturday. And I'm even breaking another rule--- some of these things happened last week. HA! Living on the edge, aren't I? What a dork.

1) Spending two days visiting my boy, Dylan, in Indianapolis over my school's fall break. I enjoyed seeing his apartment for the first time and I got to meet his new pup, Swazey. Yes, I got a major crush on her. Wish I'd had my camera, but Jim had it with him in Arizona. Dylan took me to his Thursday night Bible Study with all his friends which always ends with everybody watching "The Office." We went to IUPUI to see what he had to do to re-enroll for the spring semester, did a little shopping and went out to eat at Piper's, the restaurant where he is wait staff on Friday nights. His girlfriend's parents own it. It is always a treat to hang with Dylan. He loves his mom and doesn't mind hanging out with her. What a good guy.
2) Ripping out the paneling around our fireplace and pulling out the carpet, padding, baseboards, and nailboards around the edges. This means our renovation project is really going to happen. Now, if I can just get up the courage to ask my friend, Fred, if he's willing to build the island cabinets for me. (I hope he says yes or I've got a little problema).
3) Jim getting home from Arizona. It was a long and lonely week without him. It was a longer and emotionally arduous week for him as he dealt with his mom's declining health and death.
4) Beautiful, gorgeous breath-taking sunsets and sunrises. I love the indigo-violet-blue-red-pink-orange-yellow that fills the skyline as the day turns to night and vice-versa.
5) Friends who visit from Massachusetts. A long time ago, Jim and I met Harriet and her then-husband, Arlen, when we lived in MA. Our kids were close in age and we all became fast friends. We spent much time together camping, eating, and visiting even after we had moved to Maine. When I had to make the weekly four-hour drive to MA while I finished my Masters degree, Harriet would take care of my children while I attended class and studied. I couldn't have completed my degree without their help and support. After our move to Indiana, we spoke maybe once a year, sometimes less. Fast forward fifteen years and I get a phone call early one August day. Their son, Christopher, will be attending the University of Notre Dame---do we live close by? Um, yeah, a 30-minute drive. And so through Christopher, we were able to reconnect. Harriet and Arlen are no longer married, but our home has become their Bed & Breakfast inn when they venture out on alternating weekends to attend the famous ND football extravaganzas. It has been wonderful to reconnect and rekindle our friendship. I love that we are able to repay their kindness so many years later. Christopher will graduate next spring, so our challenge will be to maintain the long-distance relationship. (That's Harriet and Christopher in the picture with a member of the ND Guard. The guard is not allowed to smile while suited up. Or else!).
6) I love fall. (and I broke another rule).