Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I have to admit that I don't get 2 references in my subject. I understand them, but there are other people who will actually be delighted to see those words on my blog.
My brother Ted, a recently rising star of this blog, is in the Pride of Dayton. POD is the marching band for University of Dayton. And they're good. They sound good, they look good, and they are oodles of fun at the games. I seriously think they work harder at pumping up the crowd and cheering on the players than the cheerleaders do!
I had the honor of being invited to Family Weekend by my brother. Saturday was a football game and POD had a host of events for the family members of the band.
My mom was out of town so I got to hang out with my dad and my brother (Daniel) while we enjoyed POD and the UD football game (against Duquesne- UD won). I arrived at 10:30 and easily found my dad and Daniel. Ted’s practice ended and he joined us in the POD tailgate tent for burgers and lively chats. Some of his friends joined us- Brooks and Mike and Em.
A word about Em… For over a year now, Ted has been wanting me to come to UD to meet Em. They are very good friends, maybe even best friends. Tons of inside jokes and late night humor and similar interest. She’s a Resident Assistant, she’s also part of POD and she’s one of the first friends Ted made at UD. I imagine that she is his Jim. Instant and deep connection, lots in common. Anyway, Ted has insisted time and time again that Em and I are so much alike, that we will totally hit it off. And he’s been saying the same to Em. And now we finally got to meet. I knew we would either totally love each other or really not like each other.
Love. At first sight. She’s awesome. We have a similar sense of humor, similar passions (she wants to be a family attorney so she can stand up for foster kids or kids in divorce situations or kids in trouble), and we both think my brother is awesome. She is one of those people that always includes everyone around her in her joy and enthusiasm. You can’t help but be attracted to the light that emanates from her. She and Ted have all sorts of inside jokes- most of which go back to something from POD- and “Whoo Hoo” and “Shark Buddies” would be a couple of those things.
I met 2 of Ted’s fellow trombone section friends- Bones of Steel. Brooks and Mike. Both are upperclassmen. Both were polite, funny, good looking, engaging. They were interesting to talk to and also showed interest in me and what I do.
I missed out on Ted’s high school years because I live in Indiana. I wasn’t there when he went to Homecoming or Prom. I didn’t go to his youth group functions or participate in many scouting events (I was there when he was awarded his Eagle Scout, though). The same goes for Daniel. And I hate missing that part of my brother’s lives. I hate not knowing their friends. I hate not knowing about first romances or those puppy love feelings or crushes. They know they can talk to me or e-mail me or call me. Ted actually took me up on it once and I hope it helped- it seemed to go well.
Anyway- back to Saturday. So we had lunch and then the POD performed for the tailgaters. That was cool. They marched out from the far side of the arena, across the parking lot, and performed several songs for us. The football crossed by as they played- that was cool, too. Then they performed as they marched into the stadium. It was just awesome. They sound good, they look good, they have incredible energy. They have fun. Just like you should at that age.
POD is a really cool thing to be part of. I think it really set the path for Ted and his college experience. POD has band camp a week prior to dorm move-in. So his freshman year, Ted was on campus a week early. Bonus. Then he had band camp and got to meet and connect with his fellow band mates. Bonus. And I recently learned that they actually hook freshman up with upperclassman and hold a “marriage ceremony” so that you have a very official POD family- someone to turn to with questions, if you need a ride, etc. And as an upperclassman, someone to look out for and take under your wing. Bonus. Bonus.
One more cool thing about Saturday… It is tradition for the band members family members to join the band on the field at halftime to dance! Last year, according to my dad, the dance was a choreographed number taught to them by the cheerleaders. This year, it was a basic swing dance that you could do whatever you’d like to do with it. I missed rehearsal but I’m fine with swing dancing so my dad and I had a great time taking to that football field!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Let's get to Fragin' and Free Writin'
** I love Glee. This week's episode had a character coming out to his dad. They'd set the dad up so that you assume he's all macho and close-minded and that the boy really fears what his dad might think. When he tells his dad... the response was beautiful. "I've known since you were 3. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels." I wish I had written down the rest of his response- I can't find it online. But it was exactly right. It was accepting and loving. I think that's part of what makes Glee so fantastic. There is this dark realism but then the give the big, shiny, happy ending or silver lining. So even though you know things are tough or stressful... there is still the chance that the football team dancing to "Single Ladies" will result in the team winning the game.
** No crankies today. Thankfully. I'm very calm today. Got my sillies out yesterday. Had a great time with the Music Team last night. Kids are good. Life is good!
** I spent some time updating the playlist on my phone yesterday. Deleted any traces of Kanye West. Buh-bye. Well, traces might not be the right word. Because I love the Glee version of Gold Digger. So that's on there. Added some David Crowder Band, Black Eyed Peas, Outkast, Regina Spektor, Natasha Bedingfield, Glee, Coldplay, Beyonce...
** From time to time, I think about career changes. I've been with my current company in my current department for almost 10 years. I started as a temporary administrative assistant and have promoted up to admin to the VP over our dept and then to Purchasing Specialist and then a title that was given to me because I didn't have as much experience as our Purchasing Managers but I was doing the job of a Purchasing Manager and then finally got promoted to Purchasing Manager and now 3M has job-mapped all of us to fit into their structure so I'm a Procurement Analyst and Government Contract Administrator. Whew! Anyway- I am proud of what I've accomplished in these 10 years. But this is also never where I dreamed I'd be. Ever. I'm not itching to get out or anything. But I'm starting to think more about what I might enjoy if/when I do leave this place. And I would love to work with young adults or teens. I don't know in what capacity. But I love their energy and I feel like I have something to give back. I think I'll soon be getting an idea of whether or not this is a good fit as I might have a chance to work with the youth group in our church over the next few months. We'll see.
** It's funny... even though I want to work with teens and young adults... the idea of actually doing it... kinda scares me, too. Isn't it funny how just the thought of teenagers can rush you back to your own experiences at that age? I wouldn't go back for anything. College, yes. High school... not so much. My life was chaos and insecurity and self-loathing. Wouldn't want that back for anything.
** I think I'm driving to Dayton tomorrow to see my little brother (Ted- I wrote about his birthday this week). He plays trombone for Pride of Dayton- Univ of Dayton's marching band. He's a boner. Yup. Anyway- we kept meaning to go visit him last year and never made it. It's family weekend and the band has stuff scheduled before the football game tomorrow- including the POD playing for the Tailgate. Teagan has dance class and says she wants to go to dance class instead of to Dayton so it looks like I'll be going by myself. Which is fine. At least I'll have control of the radio!
** Ever try making a parenting threat and it just doesn't work? Jeff was getting the kids dressed yesterday morning and Zach was giving him a hard time, kicking his feet, not cooperating. The frustration level was rising. I'm listening in from the bathroom, brushing my hair, when I hear Jeff try a phrase we've used a version of on Teagan once or twice... "Zachary! If you don't get these pants on, you will just have to go to Miss Lisa's in just your diaper! And all the other kids will point and laugh at you!" Given that there isn't a single kid not in diapers at Miss Lisa's and given that every male's dream seems to be to spend as much time as possible without pants on... I don't see the threat carrying much weight.
** Tomorrow is my 1 Year Blog-iversary! If you aren't a regular reader, I'd love it if you "followed" along or add my to your reader or whatever. If you are a regular reader... you already know I love you. I feel like I "Should" do something special to mark the day but my Saturday is going to be way to packed to even consider a special blog post. And I'm too strapped to try and do a giveaway (unless some great company out there is reading this and contacts me today with a bunch of free stuff to give away... no? Oh well.).
Thursday, September 24, 2009
A Facebook comment suggestion- they aren't decorative or fashionable, they serve a purpose. Built in hanky for preventing the spread of H1N1. Not for blowing or wiping, mind you. Only for catching the sneeze-spray. Thanks, Jen! And since tying seems to be the favored actual option, I tried 2 more ways of tying... (OK- I actually kinda like that last one...)
Keep the suggestions coming! ***
At the suggestion of Hotel Tuesday- who knows about fashion as he is the host of the fabulous PRJNCT (Project Runway for Barbies- oodles of talent and buckets of laughs)- I present the power trend of the 80's and 90's, soon to hit some runway somewhere...
We might be on to something here... the way these things are attached, the shoulder pads can be rolled up to easily tuck under the material while still allowing for some neckline adornment. Hm. Actually looks like a weird growth or very misplaced boob or a tragically inept bra-stuffing.
Let's try a different way...
I like it! Still shows my "corporate power" but highlights my feminine side.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
It's a unique sibling relationship when there is such an age gap. While we didn't grow up together or play together or build forts in the back yard... I was a big sis who hosted picnics in the living room, I was there when Ted cried at his first movie (Air Bud; Ted was maybe 6 years old).
I moved off to college when my brothers were little- makes sense, given the age difference.
I remember very clearly the night each of my brothers was born and I remember a lot of their infancies and toddler-hoods.
Today, my baby brother Teddy... now known as Ted... turns 20. No more "teen" to soften the blow of that age. His boyhood is moving fast behind him and he is becoming a solid young man.
It's funny how you change when you "leave the nest." I know I changed a lot when I went off to college. And I've been sitting back and watching Ted blossom, too. And Daniel's time is just around the corner.
But in many ways, Ted will always be Teddy. There is something about being present in someone's life from the day they were born that causes a part of them to be forever stuck at younger ages in your head and heart.
In some ways, Teddy will always be 3 years old, biting into an onion, thinking it was an apple. In some ways, Teddy will always be 6 years old, crying because the boy is abandoning Air Bud on that island. In some ways, Teddy will always want me to read him a story, need his Brave Lion that his big sister gave him, or be the boy that I sat on the grass with, watching the Ohio River, having a picnic and a few tickle fights...
But most of all, Teddy will always be the boy with the Chicken Salad Story.
When Teddy was around 5 years old, my mom was in a phase of weird cooking. She thought it was a great idea to mash vegetables into potatoes so she could "trick" you into eating veggies. There were some odd tasting combinations. I think this was also around the time she began experimenting with tofu. But if there was a casserole or anything blended on the table, we were all a bit cautious. Teddy was already a picky eater. Experimental cook and a picky eater- not always a good match.
This evening, mom served normal food. Nothing fancy, even. Chicken Salad. Chicken, mayo, grapes, some seasoning (maybe dill).
Teddy begins picking and poking and questioning and maybe even whining a bit...
"What is this? I don't want to eat chicken salad! What's in it?"
Instead of going the typical route of honesty... his big sis decided to give him what he seemed to want... the "real" ingredients in mom's chicken salad.
"Well, this is chicken. That's easy. But this right here (pointing to dill)... that's grass from the backyard!"
Teddy's eyes got bigger... "Really???"
"Oh yes! I saw mom do it. She grabbed her scissors and went right out there and cut up a bunch of grass and then I saw her put it in this bowl!"
"Well.. then... what's this?" He nudges a grape with his fork.
"That? Oh, well. I'm not sure I should tell you... but... well, it's a goat's eyeball."
My mom and dad had to stifle giggles at this point.
"A WHAT? A goat's eyeball? Lizzie!"
"It's true! It's a goat's eyeball!"
Ted gives me a sideways glance, thinking over what I've said, trying to decide if I'm teasing or not...
"How did Mom get the goat's eyeball? Did she have to kill it?"
"Oh goodness no! She just walked up to the goat, smacked him on the back of his head, and his eyeball fell right out. She rinsed it off and plopped it right into our salad!"
At this point, the adults at the table aren't containing the giggles and it's clear that I am joking.
"Lizzie! You're joking!" He gives me a grin and looks like he has us all figured out...
"Yes, Ted, I am."
With confidence and maybe even a bit of a prideful swagger, as much as can be mustered by his small 5 year old frame, Ted proclaims...
"They really did kill the goat, didn't they!"
Happy Birthday Ted!! I'm going to eat chicken salad for lunch- in your honor!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I think that we can learn a lot of lessons from children- those near us and those we don’t know.
I sing with our music team at church. Today, we sang a song that a lot of our music team members complain about, are tired of, don’t really like much. I have to admit that it is one of my favorite songs. It’s called “Undignified” and the message is that I will do whatever I am called to do without being ashamed. I will dance and sing and not be concerned about the people staring at me- in fact, me fully embracing what God is calling me to do may just somehow inspire someone else.
Part of why I love the song- and I wish the congregation could see what I see- is because the kids really demonstrate what the song is all about. The adults tend to stand there and maybe sing, maybe not. Maybe clap, most likely not, maybe raise up hands, most likely not. Certainly never dance or bounce around. But the kids- oh, the kids! The jump up and down and dance and wave their arms around! That joy, that love, that free spiritedness… that’s inspiring.
There is a boy in our neighborhood who is in a wheelchair. I don’t know him, I don’t know where he lives, I don’t know his parents. I saw him for the first time yesterday. I’d say he’s around 10 years old or so. Yesterday evening, we went for a walk after dinner. Teagan on her tricycle, Zach in his stroller, Sassy on the leash. As we approached the end of our street, there is a boy on a bike, riding alongside his friend in the wheelchair. 2 boys, 2 sets of wheels.
Today, I was driving home and saw a boy on the sidewalk. It looked as though he had taken a spill and was working on getting his bike back upright. Being a mom, I kept an eye on him in case he was hurt or needed help. As I got closer and as he righted what I thought was his bike, I realized that he hadn’t been on a bike. He was righting his friend! The boy in the wheelchair. I don’t know what happened, but as I passed, both boys had huge grins on their faces- even though their belongings were scattered on the sidewalk, even though there had been a fall. They had each other and as they laughed and grinned and looked at each other, I could only imagine the adventure that had gotten them to that place… that’s inspiring.
Teagan made me so proud today. She asked to come with me to church and she asked to stay for both services, which is normal. She went to Sunday School, greeted people, participated in Small Talk (children’s sermon). Second service, she goes up for Small Talk and sits next to a girl she knows and likes. While Pastor Rusty is talking, Teagan drops her quarter and goes to get it. When she turns around, another girl has taken her carefully selected spot by her friend. Teagan walks directly up to this girl. Stands there and stares. I’m in my seat, waiting to see what will happen. Seconds that feel like minutes pass. Slowly, Teagan turns around, holding her head high, shoulders squared. I can see she is fighting tears and she looks to me, unsure of how to handle the situation. I gesture that she can come to me- she runs and the tears spill. I hold her. She rushes out the words, “I went to get my quarter and I turned around and she took my seat and I told her I was sitting there and I wanted her to move and she wouldn’t even look at me or answer me and I wanted to sit by my friend!” I tell her that there isn’t much we can do about it right now without being rude to Pastor Rusty. And I tell her that even when it feels like other people are being mean, she can always know that Mommy loves her and Daddy loves her and God loves her and Mimi and Pop-pop and Grandma and lots and lots of other people love her no matter what. She smiled through her tears and accepted the tissue I offered. She sat with me the rest of Small Talk and then ran to Sunday School- with joy.
After church, I told her that I was very proud of her. Because sometimes when it feels like someone is being mean to us, when someone isn’t considering our feelings, it is easy to be mean back and want to hurt them the way we are hurting. But she didn’t do that. Instead of hitting or kicking or using ugly, mean words to that girl, Teagan chose to walk away. She used her words to express what she wanted and then made a good choice to walk away. She showed kindness, in her own way, when faced with meanness… that’s inspiring.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
What’s better than shopping at Goodwill and finding some great stuff?
Shopping at Goodwill and finding great stuff at 1/2 the Goodwill price!
Blouses are normally $4 each. 1/2 off… $2! I just bought 10 tops for $20!
1/2 of my 1/2 off finds aren’t for me.
Here’s my loot…
And being the awesome big sister that I am, I snagged this Dayton Flyers t-shirt for my brother- well, for my brother to give to whomever might want it, anyway. It’d be a little small for him (he’s 6’3” and lanky but also muscle-y).
And I kept finding things for Christy! Each of these tops is “so her” that I couldn’t resist…
I probably could have spent a lot more time in there, rooting through all the treasures and household objects and such. It’s been far too long since I spent a good chunk of time in a Goodwill. I used to shop there often in college and when I did theatre. It’s the most awesome resource for poor college students to clothe themselves or furnish dorm rooms and apartments. It’s a great place to find costumes and props for the theatre. And now that I’m a mom… it’s a great place to shop and save money so that my dollars can end up going to my kids instead!