Monday, March 26, 2012


How busy are we? Let me see. Just a minute. I need to check my email. My texts. Can't live without the phone for goodness sake! But stop. Put down the electronics. It's okay to turn off the t.v. No music. Just quiet. Ahhhh. This sounds simple. But it's really hard to do. To disconnect from all of our modern marvels. You would not believe what a relief this can be. It's an opportunity to reconnect with your family and your friends. Even your dogs.

And this is what I have learned and rediscovered. My dog Bailey will hold my gaze forever. I think he may be reading my soul. And I'm reading his. We both came up with the same reading. We love and trust each other completely. I have learned from Sweet Pea that she, too, is loving and very thankful.

From my husband I have rediscovered this beautiful fleck of goldish brown in one of his eyes. I knew it was there from the start, but it's a reminder to me of his genuine new love for me. His sincere love of me. When it was all new. I noticed this fleck one day and thought some twenty years ago that I wanted to know everything about this man. And for this I am so fortunate. To stop my girl was hard. She's a busy one. So I caught her at a slow moment. As I was tucking her into bed for the night. Those freckles get me every time. I'm looking at the face of an almost full grown young woman. But what I really see is the sweet little baby with those kissable cheeks. I can't resist the urge to smooch them. And smooch them I do. She lets me. She's tired.

The other day I was visiting with a friend. I was listening. A lot. In fact my friend asked if everything was alright. Yes. Everything is fine. You haven't said much is all. It's kind of nice to listen, I replied. To hear how you are doing. It's nice to live a little beyond my own four walls.

So try it sometime. Just stop. That's all. Stop and pay attention to what's going on. Around you and beyond you. It really is amazing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Let's Hear It For The Girls

When Scott and I found out we were going to have a girl we were elated. I started calling her by name after that tell tale ultrasound. For all of the trouble we had getting her here, life has been mostly easy and carefree since. We taught Gracie that there was nothing that she couldn't do. We are responsible parents, but we also instilled in her the fear of hardly anything. We wanted to and have given her many opportunities to try many things in life.

My mom and dad have done the same. Gracie has traveled with them to New York and San Francisco. This summer their trip is to Boston. There have been plays, concerts and musicals, too. Fun and educational all at the same time. Gracie has been part of musical events, student government, yearbook committee, karate and running club. There is no stopping this girl. And we'd have it no other way.

So a few months back, when she came home and announced that she would like to be a science olympiad, we supported this. And she went to regionals. And placed second! Yep. That was hootin' and hollerin' that you heard from her mom and dad! Then dad became a coach. She's really good at this, he said. I smiled and said, I'm sure she is. No, really Ann, she's got a knack for this. I believe you, I said. She and her friend Calista kept practicing. My kitchen table was starting to look like a lab. Good excuse to pick up take out for supper.

This past Saturday was the State Science Olympiad. In Oshkosh. Her dad's alma mater. We couldn't be in the room that the events took place in. We were there in time for the awards ceremony. I had a second to ask, how'd you do? I feel good about it, mom. And when their event was called and they placed third in the state in Crimebusting, we screamed and clapped like crazy people! Proud people. Proud parents.

We love that she tries new things. That she has a black belt in karate. That she embraces new challenges all of the time. Now if we could just get her to clean her room...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

With Dignity, Please

Friday night my family and I attended a movie. The movie was about all that happened in the state of Wisconsin last year. The changes that Scott Walker and others made that affected unions and collective bargaining. The movie, or documentary, was well done. It followed six people through the days of the protests, the occupation of the Capitol and the marches.

I am generally a very positive person. It is the way I choose to be. And last year, when the protests were happening, I was so proud of the way people conducted themselves. There were people united in a cause that was for the good of many. We weren't violent. We didn't swear. We brought our children down to the Capitol to be part of history. The kind of history that can't be taught in a classroom. And some of us had our children record their thoughts so that they could look back and reflect on their past. So that they could say they were there when.

I had a total stranger contact me from out of state when I posted on Facebook that I was bringing Gracie with me to the protests. He, too, wanted his child to experience this time in history. But he was met with much resistance from people who were worried that it wouldn't be safe. I told him on the first day, I had my own worries. They were immediately diminished. The kindness of strangers was amazing. And that kindness was felt from all over the world. He thanked me for making him feel better about his decision.

So this brings me back to Friday night. The movie was truly well done. The set up not so much. The theater was riddled with hecklers. I don't mean to portray the entire crowd. But the few that did this were very vocal. People that sat right behind us yelled "liar" every time a picture of Scott Walker appeared on the screen. These same people hissed and swore. I was embarrassed. Not for me, but for them. They were doing the exact opposite of what I was so proud didn't happen last year. Last year we, as a collective group, handled ourselves well. We were not petty. Another thing that bothered me about the theater was the seating arrangement. I know that this is a theater that serves dinner. It is what they are known for. But on this night, for this movie, it felt wrong. These dinner tables had food and drink provided to a select few. Not the majority. The dichotomy of this was not lost on me or others I overheard. Very strange. I would have liked to have seen the tables removed and additional seating put up for viewers of this movie.

I am hoping that we, as a collective group, can fight this battle with dignity. It's not hard. And it doesn't have to turn ugly. We don't have to swear and heckle. We need to unite. And we need to be polite. Please.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ready, Set, Go

Grocery shopping done. Check. House cleaned. Check. Bills paid. Check. Laundry done. Check. Quality time with family and friends. Double check. So it's Sunday night and all of the important things have been done and experienced this weekend. I'm all ready to greet the new week. I think.

Mondays come to me with mixed feelings. Not all of the time. Just every once in a while. Especially when the weekend has been great. You don't want it to end. It does though. And I know that there will always be next weekend. I'm an adult. I know these things. Here's part two of the equation. I do love Mondays. I love my job and the people I work with. A new week is a fresh start. A new set of five days to change the world. Or maybe just five days to make little changes. To make a difference. To pay it forward. I like to start small. Smile at people. Hold a door for someone. Let a person in your lane in traffic. Life is short and little things do mean a lot. Don't listen to those who say they don't.

So I've picked my clothes out for tomorrow. Something bright and cheery. Just in case the sun isn't out, this should give me a bright and shiny look on life. I'm relaxing tonight. Enjoying the quiet night with the family. I know I'll get a good night's sleep. This arms me for the week ahead. I really can't wait. I'm looking forward to it. I'm ready for it. I'm set. And tomorrow off I go.

Challenge yourself to start the week like we used to start our races in grade school. With great anticipation. With the idea that there is a prize at the end. It's called the weekend. But don't forget to enjoy the week along the way. Sometimes hidden prizes are revealed along the way. Happy Monday!