Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Libby House

Recently I was creating a new file folder for all of our paperwork that went into renting this house, and right after I washed my hands ten times and turned the light switch on 20 times so I could get it right, I created a manila file and called it "Libby House" (we live on Libby Street, keep up) and put it in our Baer Filing Cabinet.

Then I realized that "Libby House" is my new favorite thing, and I think I might want to name my first daughter Libby and also any female pets we might have and any soap opera character I soon create.

This brings us to the topic du jour, so here you are: welcome to the Libby House and also we have a no-shoes rule, because I've always hated when people seem to have arbitrary house rules so now that I can, I am going to have as many as it takes to annoy you. You also may not use the word "refrigerator" and you have to SHUT UP AND LISTEN RIGHT NOW when I put Celine Dion on the stereo.


AB Cooking, Jethro sniff-testing. "Add salt."

This is the puzzle that depicts a Tiger in a Amazon-esque Rain Forest. Let me be me, ok?

Kitchen/Dining room area with the backdoor open.

Looking into the family room from the kitchen

Making crafts with my cat. Yes, I was wearing a tie-dyed hoodie and no, I hadn't showered in a while and my, aren't we full of derrogatory questions.

Den. Man that cat sleeps everywhere.

Bedroom. The sun doesn't heat this place to a towering inferno every afternoon like it did in our apartment, so the uncontrollable urge to take a nap every moment of every day is really starting to cut into my eating and otherwise living time.

Master bathroom

Looking outside from the bedroom doors

Bedroom doors. If you're not there yet, the word we're looking for is "I'M JEALOUS OF YOU MARIA." I know, Ohio people. That's why I took all these "french door" shots.

Back of house.

Please play with me? (Also: don't mourn the dead grass. That's what happens in AZ winters, we're told. It will come back.)

Seriously. PLEASE play with me?


Come visit. I can't find one of the puzzle's end pieces so free Girl Scout cookies to whoever finds it.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I really feel like I'm supposed to be talking about the Oscar's, but I forgot to watch them which may or may not be an indication of how important they are to me. However I feel like I'd be doing my SEO a disservice if I didn't mention them, so, you know. Can you believe the OSCAR'S!? Did you see what Angeline Jolie was wearing?! At the OSCAR'S!? Can you even get over that OSCAR UPSET where that one lady beat the other lady in that one category with ACTRESSES at the OSCAR'S? JENNIFER LOPEZ MAKING OUT SCANDAL REVEALING OUTFIT EX-LOVER GEORGE CLOONEY MICHAEL CERA

...the kids like Michael Cera, right? Him?

Now on to your regularly scheduled programming that gets me in the ballpark of at least TWO visits a day that aren't my Dad:

OMG EVERYONE... I got an iPhone yesterday. It was time for my upgrade. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Can you believe I had lived this long with an old Pantech that only texted and called and had no back anymore because I lost it in Mom's car when I was changing the battery that one time? I can't believe all I could do was text and call and take pictures of Jethro, who is much more interesting than all of your babies.

It's not you, Pantech, it's me.

Stay tuned. I'm going to take you on a tour of our new house this week, so you can stalk me in a much more realistic way.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Philosophy 101

If you're my buddy on Facebook,* you may have responded to my plea for a cure to writer's block. I kept searching my soul for blog topics but was only coming up with either negativity or extremely boring nonsense, like how I made sweet potatoes last week because I heard on KLove they'll keep you from getting the flu.

The suggestions I received made me laugh and cry, cry and laugh. You all know me too well, and I mean that. Like, you know WEIRD things about me. (Cue the Febreeze comment from Tim. I may explain that one day, but probably not, because it involves me not doing my laundry, and a traitorous betrayal of trust, and secrecy. About not doing my laundry. That's actually pretty much it.)

I plan to flesh out most/all of these ideas in world-changing fashion on this here blog at some point, but Anthony's question about my favorite philosophers piqued my interest first. Winner winner chicken dinner.

So, here you go. My 5 favorite philosophers and why, with a twist. A lemon twist, maybe. Appletini please, easy on the 'tini.

1. Mom
When we moved into our new house in Louisville, OH in 1995 I was 8. My little brudder was 5 and my sister was 10. Pretty soon after the move my Mom started getting upset because someone kept leaving his/her towels on the floor in the bathroom. She wanted whoever it was to come forward and fess up, and also to stop doing it. (Our family dynamic was so Stalin-era.) No one came forward. Soon, using my Nancy Drew skills, I realized I knew who was doing it. It, obviously, was Jen. I knew I wasn't doing it, and I knew Joey couldn't be doing it because Mom still bathed him herself, and, presumably, hung up his towel afterwards. I ran to Mom and with an inordinant amount of joy over my simultaneous innocence and brilliant detective skills, told her it was Jen. She said, "mind your own business." This was how Mom taught me that life isn't fair, and to only concern myself with whether I was doing the right thing. I credit this very situation with my inability to lose gracefully at board games.

2. The United States Postal Service
Everything I believe about politics can be traced to the time the post office stole my Mom's birthday present. I was still desperately heart-broken over moving across the country from her blonde head and was sending a package with perfume, matching lotion, and probably tears from AZ to OH. She called me the day she got the package and said "thanks for the lotion!" I said "What about the perfume?" (I am particular about getting FULL thank-yous.) She said "What perfume?" She then asked me why I had duct-taped the envelope, which I HAD NOT DONE. (I'll give you a moment to come down from your gasp...) So I went to the post office and explained what happened. They asked me if I had insured the package. I said no. I asked what would have been different if I had. They said nothing. I asked what my options were. The over-pensioned gentleman then said to me, "Next time don't use a non-post-office envelope." Now, I have a dart board with Uncle Sam's face as the center in my den.

3. Stephanie Tolan
In middle school I did a book report on Welcome to the Ark by Stephanie Tolan. It's very X-Men, but at the time the premise was completely novel to me. The four kids have weird, special powers. They invent their own language, see into the future, etc. This was the exact moment in my history when I realized that there isn't just "normal" and "weird," and that "weird" could be useful. I regarded myself and my eccentricity much more kindly after that. That's also when I started my infamous "color theory," wherein I told my entire middle school volleyball team that it's possible we all see different colors but have simply learned to call what we see by the same name. I blew their minds and we constantly talked about it on the bus. I'm pretty sure there's a plaque in my middle school hallway for this. (Not really.)

4. My first boss
Here's what I learned: Unhappy people don't like it when you're happy. That doesn't mean you can't be happy, but some people may not like you. Some people can't be understood, and trying to deciper their motives will give you an ulcer. People who eat a RIDICULOUS amount of jelly beans can stay skinny. And, finally, sometimes, people who act wrong get promoted, and they might get promoted all the way up to retirement. You have to function in a world that allows that, so get ok with it.

5. Anthony
The dude himself, the idea-giver. He's a dear friend and taught me something a few years back I still try to learn every day. I was lamenting to him about a friend who had moved away and wasn't staying in touch with me. He wasn't returning calls, wasn't writing e-mails, etc. I said "He must not want to be friends with me anymore!" And Anthony said, "how do you know that?" I said, "because I put myself in his shoes. If I weren't writing or calling, it would be because I don't want to cultivate that relationship." Anthony said - "so you put him in your shoes." In other words, I was interpreting my friend's actions by what they would mean if I were committing them. After thinking it over for a while, and allowing my far-away friend to be truly himself in my mind, I concluded he either didn't like phone chats (more of a texter maybe?) or he simply was forgetting about it. This was a HUGE LESSON. It occurs to me that if I'd heeded it better, it could've helped with #4, man. Shoot.

Life's philosophies are best learned through application, friends.

Also, and I mean this, when Ghandi said "Be the change you wish to see in the world," I officially and simultaneously became the truest version of a Christian, Republican, daughter, sister, friend, wife and woman that I can be.

Got a favorite philosopher? Don't say Ayn Rand. I'm too tired to talk about it.

*If you're not my buddy on Facebook, go ahead and buddy me! Just give me a heads up that you're a blog reader, because I no likey adding people I don't know from Adam. Also those with mustaches, so you'll want to take care of that first.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


If I were an Ikea, my heart would have lots of shelves. They would be very organized. Love for my family here. Fangirl neuroses for the Steelers there. Friend love in one place, happy memories in another, sad memories in the back, lamentations for my lactose intolerance on the kiosk. You get the idea.

But right now, there is something and I have no clue what to do with it. About a year ago, my blondie friend Nicki and her hubby Wes became pregnant. I remember getting her e-mail at work telling me about it - it was one of those times I had to get up and walk a lap around the hotel because I was so jacked. They had wanted a little one for a long time.

Then I remember watching this adorable video on Facebook in which Nick and Wes and their families cut into this cake with a bunch of question marks on it... if the cake was pink it was a girl; blue it was a boy, green it was a dinosaur, etc. They had had the ultrasound earlier in the day but didn't know the results. The cake was pink. Girly girly girl! The video was especially heart-warming because Nicki spent the whole time telling everyone what to do. No one bosses like that girl does. It's the type of bossing that makes you feel like she loves you SO much, that she just wants you to do stuff right. It's her love language. I mean that completely, too.

Then one day in August, I was sitting in my hallway folding laundry. I hated folding laundry in the hallway in that apartment because Jet would always come step on everything and knock over my piles.

My phone rang and it was Amy. The thing about calls from Amy is, every time I've ever heard bad news in my life, I'm pretty sure it has come from an Ame-call. And she has a voice. A bad-news voice. I want to shake her when I hear it. She told me Nicki and Wes lost the baby. Little Ellersley Grace.

Now Nicki writes the most beautiful, raw blog about her journey with it.

And I just don't know what to do with this thing. I am holding it in my hands and it makes me feel so, so heavy for them, and I don't have a single shelf to put it on.

I love you both.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

String Around Your Finger

Last Saturday I went to Zumba with Jen. She is my sister and she was in town to visit and it was awesome. Sprinkles was patroned; cupcakes eaten.

When I woke up on Sunday morning I did the normal all-over morning exam (can I move? Can I breathe? Am I alive? Did a meteor crash into earth overnight?) and I felt fine; no Zumba soreness yet. But then my feet hit the floor and both my calves went all Saw IV on me. It felt like Dolvett had forced me to do one too many minutes on that stair climber stepper machine at a last chance workout. (If you don't get my Biggest Loser references, first answer WHY NOT, and then, accept my apologies.)

Anyway, they done hurt, ok? And I had to endure three days of walking not so much like an Egyptian as like a weirdly uncoordinated robot that still can eat human food, because I had a lot of pizza on Sunday given the Super Bowl.

I totally have a point here, so stop freaking out.

My point is that my calves were ruling me for three days. They hurt BADLY and made walking very awkward and painful, especially in heels, which are the only type of shoes I have conducive to my work wardrobe, which you can thank my stature for but really its less about stature than it is about an unwillingness to shop in the "short" pants section and/or hem my clothes. BUT, I remember thinking "oh my goodness. When will this stop. I cannot imagine walking normally. I forget what that feels like."

Then, on Wednesday, I woke up, got to work, put on my Grooveshark playlist that's been a bit Azure Ray heavy lately, ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, went to the post office at lunch, then HOLY CRAP I JUST REALIZED MY CALVES DON'T HURT ANYMORE.

It felt really profound, so it should for you too and not just because you have finally gotten to "the point" of this blog entry, hee hee ho ho. I just felt dumb that I had forgotten that quickly. It felt inescapable and never ending when I was in the thick of it. And then it was gone and I forgot.

It's good to know that really terrible stuff that feels overwhelming can turn into a forgotten blink of an eye by Wednesday. But it's not so good to realize that really great, incredible, undeserved things can be just as forgotten.

I woke up this morning and my first thought was, dude, my shower gets so freaking hot and I love it. I have a ton to be thankful for. I didn't even mean to think that. It is very contrary from my usual first thought in the morning, being that which is usually related to 'what did the scale say' and 'why didn't I brush my teeth last night after eating those onions.' So it felt good to think it. And I want to try to remember more. You should too. We all should, and then we should remember to thank each other for it. Oh my gosh I think I just started a Twitter trending topic.

My point is, don't forget to be thankful that your calves don't hurt, and anything else. Remembering is discipline, and holy, and life-giving.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Case Against Lists: A List

Recently a good friend of mine started a dating relationship with a mutual friend from our church. She was telling me about him one day, and I asked how things were going. Her response went something like: “He’s great. He doesn’t have everything on my list, but he has most of it.”

When I finished gagging myself with a spoon, I was struck with the wisdom to be a little more generous with my response to her. After all, didn’t I make a little “list” of my own at summer church camp when I was 16, pink cartoon hearts and all? Didn’t I write off my husband when we first met because he was wearing a Chicago Cubs T-shirt and I only wanted a shaggy-haired, emotionally tormented, non-sports-interested ‘musician’? (He still loves to tell that story).

Here’s the thing. Obviously, when we’re looking for someone to do life with, we need to have some parameters. It might be a deal-breaker for you (and I would advise that it be) if someone isn’t a Christian, for example. Or maybe your future spouse will need to want children, or not want them. I don’t mean to purport that we shouldn’t have certain “have-to’s” in mind as we’re out on the dating scene.

To go a bit further, making a “here’s-what-I’m-looking-for” list might even serve an important purpose if you’re talking to a group of 16-year-olds who need to investigate their priorities. But at a mature age, I think we should really take a hard look at our lists. I’m talking about the kind of lists with non-essential, “my wants” type of things. Things like, “she can’t wear a lot of makeup” or “he has to laugh during The Colbert Report.” I really believe that this whole list-making thing, in fact, can do a lot more harm than good.

And here’s my list why. (Ha! I’ll be here all night).

1. It Limits God
God, though many things, is someone I like to call most affectionately the Great Surpriser. No one weaves a story quite like He does, wouldn’t you agree? He made a fish eat a dude and spit him back out. Talk about unexpected. For those keeping a tally, He also: called a stutterer to face-off with a King on behalf of an entire nation (Exodus 4-12); gifted a wrinkly old couple in their 90’s a baby (Genesis 15-17); called a nobody shepherd boy to become king (1 Samuel 16); and even called a beloved prophet to marry a prostitute (Hosea 1). I believe the Lord wants to make your life as delightfully surprising as those of our brothers and sisters in the past. And a great storyteller like Him needs a wide availability of characters. So don’t tell him to only use red-headed ones. Don’t tell Him to avoid sending you a spouse who likes the Phillies. Let him do his thing, ya’ll. And don’t be surprised if it’s unexpected. (Just ask Hosea).

2. It Limits You
Making a ‘spouse list’ is really akin to putting on some pretty big blinders. If you’re seriously not going to even look twice at anyone who isn’t over 5 feet or someone who prefers Pepsi over Coke, it’s time to face the fact that your aloneness might be more you and less God, my friend. I don’t mean to be harsh, but I think my generation needs to really grow up in this area. You might not know you like something until you meet it. You might not know you don’t like something until you meet it. It’s silly to limit your prospects just because you wrote down “must wear great-smelling cologne” on a piece of notebook paper once. (Though a strict “must wear deodorant” rule might be ok. Or necessary.)

3. It Limits Your Future Spouse
I have to tell you, my first reaction to my friend’s comment that I shared earlier was offense. How could she belittle her new boyfriend into being nothing more than a potential ‘list-fulfiller’? I had only met him a few times, but immediately I wanted to rattle off all the great things about him that she should be grateful for. So what if he doesn’t own a pair of hiking boots or the only thing he knows how to cook is macaroni? What if when God made you, He had him in mind? How could you pretend to know He didn’t? I worry that concentrating on all the minute, meaningless non-checked off parts of your lists might make us miss the wonderful, unexpected aspects of our future partners.

Listen, I know some of my examples are silly. I’ve truly never met anyone who won’t date someone because they like Pepsi and not Coke. (Except maybe Jerry Seinfeld.) But my point is to get you out of the ‘list’ funk. To encourage you to challenge some of your “qualifications.” Some might need to stay. Some, though, might need to go. What truly needs to go, I believe, is the mentality of checking off bullet points in order to make huge, life-altering, story-weaving decisions. Don’t get married just because it’s on your “by the time I’m 25” bucket list. Don’t get married because you want to have someone to show off. DON’T get married because they fulfill a “list.” Get married because God introduced you to the person he wants you to serve for the rest of your life. And keep in mind that it might be a complete surprise. He’s pretty good at that.