Thursday, December 27, 2012

No Room at the Inn

Yesterday afternoon, curled up the couch, fighting day ten of a miserable cold and just killing time until my doctor's appointment, I noticed something amiss with the crèche on top of the armoire.

"Um, Chief? What's on the crèche? Up by the star? Is that.....is that a bat?!"

Chief didn't have to look twice to know I was exactly right. Nestled up against the beautiful star he had created just a few weeks ago, was a most unwelcome addition to our manger scene.

"Go outside."

I admit freely and readily here, no greater words have been spoken. For once, I didn't have to man up and figure out how to rid my nativity of a bat. Chief did. So, I did exactly as instructed. I grabbed my coat and the dog and headed outside. Chief followed long enough to get his step ladder from the garage and to talk aloud of his plan for the creature's demise. I just nodded eagerly at any suggestion that did not involve my help.

In my honest disclosure, I have to say, being the one who has already had rabies shots, there is an ounce of guilt that I am not in there dealing with this issue, but not nearly enough guilt to make me assist. About the time I thought I should remind Chief to not let the creature go should he get scratched or bitten, he came out the front door with the unwanted guest in a dish towel, gave it a hard thwack against the trash barrel and threw it all inside.

My hero. Truly.

He later told me bits and pieces of his heroic effort, but at the words, "when it jumped..." and, "so I set the crèche on top of it to keep it still..." I had to beg him to stop. Too much information.

So, Star of Wonder, I appreciate you providing a bit of warmth to the furry bat that took lodging there briefly (I hope it was briefly). Chief, you will forever be my hero for letting me be the sissy girl. Flash, this is the second time you have been ansent for a bat extraction. Duly noted. The next one is all yours. And to the THREE pets, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?

Sunday, December 09, 2012

What We Learned...

...in 36 hours at the hospital that was't covered in our pre-marital counseling sessions:

1. When you are looking forward to a weekend of no school work, just relaxing together, be careful what you wish for.

2. It's time to update our In Case of Emergency numbers.

3. The nurses in the ER will be skeptical when you say, "I am his fiancée" when you are wearing a cable tie for a ring, if you have to look at your cell phone to know his number and if you have no idea if he is still seeing Dr. Bourne or not.

4. Scrabble is entertaining. For about an hour.

5. Sitting down and watching a movie sounds great when you are home on the couch. It is torture when you are stuck in a hospital bed.

6. Despite their admonishments to get some rest, the nursing staff will be the very ones who prevent a good night's sleep by insisting on blood draws and blood pressure checks every hour.

7. Eavesdropping on conversations in the ER, hallways and elevators will make you count your blessings every time.

8. A homemade turkey salad sandwich never tasted so good after hospital food.

9. Having patience is only required of one of you. It actually works well to alternate, as it keeps the nursing staff guessing and keeps them on their toes when either of you approach their station with a question.

10. Most importantly, we learned how lucky we are to have someone there. While all tests came back negative and we leave with the comfort of a healthy bill of slate, it means even more to know when there are issues down the road, we will be there with each other and for each other.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

My Day

It's like the gods know you're trying to plan a low-key, drama-free, intimate wedding, and they just have to mess with you.  If our ring drama wasn't enough (the cable tie is holding up nicely, though, thank you for asking), the dress has been a royal pain.  I am certain the dress is a major concern in all weddings, but part of keeping this whole thing simple, was not to let such silly things become huge things.  Yeah, right.

The dress I ordered is neither the right color nor size, two issues that sent me into a small tailspin mid-week.  I set today aside as my day to remedy that situation and cross that stressor off.  Of course, I would be doing this without a ring on my finger, being a plump 40-something and not wanting anything along the lines of "typical wedding dress".  What a fun day this would be!

 I decided to brave an actual bridal store, although I was quite skeptical about them having what I wanted.  The drive was a bit of a distance, but of all bridal stores, I had highest hopes for this one.  Yeah, um, no.  While I gave it a go, and even agreed to try on a couple gowns, I still left nearly in tears from having to undress with a complete stranger to help me put an ugly satin thing on, only to have this same stranger (who was all of 20) tell me how bad that sort of waistline made me look and that this or that was just certainly not for me....right.  Like I was unaware of this. She kept giving me color advice, "for being a redhead" as though I was new to that color palette and not 41 years used to it.  

In any case, that traumatic experience shall not be repeated in my lifetime.  I have sworn off bridal shops for.evAH.  (And in case you are thinking, oh heck, I would have gone with you, please realize I am far less likely to allow someone I know well help me in and out of dresses.  At least I can rest easily tonight knowing that while I have probably scarred that poor young thing for life, at least I will never have to face her again.)

From there, the next best option was the city, and of course not the one I live in, and it certainly couldn't be someplace that would have a short direct route from where I currently was.  But, to the city it is.  And the search begins for a boutique a friend recommended, only to finally figure out after quite an extensive, back-and-forth search, that it has gone out of business at some point.  Fine.  Be that way.  So, a couple stores were hit along the way until the only option left was the nice, big, mall. 

Yes, a mall.  In December.  Just where I want to be!  The first store I hit, however, had some potential.  As long as I changed my idea of what I had imagined, and went with a "whatever works at this point" attitude, we might actually be in luck.  "Special occasion dresses" don't generally come in all ivory, nor look this time of year like what I would like to have, but fine.  Let's alter the vision and cross off a stressor.  I tried some on, asked the clerk to hold two and continued shopping.  

All around the mall, surrounded by more people than I enjoy, I went in any and every store that had potential.  Nothing else came close anywhere else, so back to the original store.  I still couldn't decide between two.  To complicate matters, (because of course there had to be further complications), the one I was leaning towards was missing the little jacket that went with it.  There was one in a smaller size, but it certainly felt like a smaller size.  I finally decided that was the dress I wanted.  The clerk, a very busy, quite ragged clerk at that, told me there should be a jacket in the right size somewhere....it was just a matter of where.  While she helped other patrons, I looked everywhere.  I was back at the counter, ready to tell her that I was unable to fine it, when I caught a glimpse of the fabric on a mismatched rack of various items.  I grabbed it off of there and sure enough, it was the size I needed that went with my dress.  The clerk was thrilled and so was I.  She felt badly about being so busy she couldn't even help me look and scanned a coupon I didn't have that gave me 25% off!  Woohoo!

So, there is a dress.  Not like the vision in my head, but a dress. 

But more importantly, there is a man.  A patient, loving man, who sat in a Jeep, or on a couch in the shoe department, who read sports updates on his phone, or watched toy demonstrations, all.day.long so I could hang a dress in my closet.  He had been up at 3 for work and still endured driving all over the state, in and out of stores and watching his frazzled fiancée struggle to keep her wits about her all for the want of a stupid, wear-it-once dress.  He didn't go because shopping is his thing; he didn't go because I insisted; he didn't go to keep an eye on my purchase or the money spent on it; he went because he knows how much I hate to shop and how stressed I am about this silly dress, and so he went, despite my permission to stay home, to help me through it.  He saw a problem and he wanted to do his part in finding a solution.  And he did it well.

Problem is, now the flowers have to be changed.

Sigh.  I hear the gods laughing....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

He Has a Way With Words

As said by Flash to the one-armed saleswoman, "...that's pretty handy!"

I can't make this up.  I swear.  

Second Grade Spelling

"Miss Eliza?"

"Yes, L?"

"How do you spell, "ovum?"

"Ovum?  What do you mean, L?  Can you use it in a sentence for me?"

"Sure.  Like, '...there were a hundred ovum...'"

"Ah, L.  You mean 'of them' then.  Two words."

"Two words?  Really?  For 'ovum'?!  Huh!"

I shouldn't be so surprised.  This comes from my same second grade class that believes fairy tales start with "Wunsa pona time...."

Maybe by the end of the year I can get all ovum to spell better so we can live Happily Ever After.

Blessed

Last night, curled up on the couch with just the Christmas tree lights on, WG and I were looking at my nativity set atop the armoire.  I was telling him about how Bear made the crèche for me and how perfect it is.  I mentioned how I had received the pieces over a couple of years and for several occasions until I had the full set.  We sat together for awhile, admiring, until I said, "About the only thing missing is a star."  WG asked what kind of star I had in mind and having not given it a lot of thought, I simply said I thought it should be lit up, but other than that, I didn't really know.  I thought maybe Mary and Joseph should have a bit of light on them as well, but I wasn't sure how to accomplish all that.

Tonight, finally arriving home after running errands, I walked into the living room to see an amazing glowing star atop the crèche!  WG had rigged an ornament full of lights, mounted it and even blackened out unnecessary lights to make my nativity scene just perfect.

I stood in awe.  I couldn't believe how perfectly he had taken a poorly described vision in my head and made it a reality just 18 hours later.


Oh how I love this man.  And oh, the ways he shows his love for me.  Thank you, WG.  For my early Christmas blessing.  

The Substitute




Ah, my ring.  My beautiful, complicated, patience-teaching ring.  When asked, quite awhile ago now, what sort of ring I might like, I had no idea.  It had been over 20 years since I last looked at diamonds.  It didn't take me long to know I didn't like much of what I saw in the jewelry cases around town, though.  Bling is definitely in, just not for me.  I stumbled across Tacori.  Known for their hand-engraving, I loved the etched style, adored the elegant and unique look and knew that was certainly my style of ring.  Even so, the two jewelers in our area that carry Tacori didn't carry the hand-engraved rings.  The jeweler had to order them in for us to even look at.  Per WG's request, I narrowed the field, but he chose the ring.

And he did a marvelous job.  My ring is absolutely stunning.  One solitaire stone set in a vintage-style band with gorgeous engraving around the band.  Even the mount for the diamond is intricate and beautiful.

Of course, all this handiwork takes time.  A month, it would seem.  And so, I waited.  Not-very-patiently.  But finally, much to WG's relief, it came and he proposed, and all was right in the world again.

Until we went looking for a wedding band.  You see, this mount has a certain curve to it, so regular bands won't lie next to it correctly.  Tacori makes a "matching band" of course, but again, no one had it for us to look at in person.  We finally asked the jeweler to order it in that we might see it.  And so we did today.  And we both really loved it, and it goes so nicely with my engagement ring, and even though WG had to donate his other kidney for it, we decided to order it.

At which point I had to take off my not-two-weeks-old engagement ring to be sent back so the matching band can be perfectly aligned and engraved and sigh.....gone. For four more weeks.  I know it makes sense, and truly, I wouldn't want to do this any other way, as these two really will look beautiful sitting side by side, but FOUR MORE WEEKS?!

Oh, to have patience.

WG isn't so sure he wants to deal with me and my impatient self for this month or ringlessness, but he also didn't really like the idea of me not having a ring on my finger while we wait.  Ever the romantic, WG was quick with a solution.  Already over budget on rings, he created a low-cost, worry-free, lifetime replacement guarantee substitute ring...




....out of a cable tie.  He had it on my finger in the parking lot of the jeweler, not ten minutes after I had taken my beautiful diamond off.

I have to admit, he is clever.  I don't think there is a man out there that would dare steal away the fiancée of another man, especially when her engagement is marked by a cable tie! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankfulness

Our first Thanksgiving together.  (Last year, I was busy holding a new baby niece and he was busy cheering on the Lions at Ford Field).  We enjoyed a special day together, just the two of us, with all our favorites on the table, and no agenda at all.  

As we counted our blessings, WG was quick to share his gratitude for homemade dinner rolls, while I  emphasized thankfulness that I was eating an amazing turkey dinner and I didn't have to do one single thing with the gross innards of the bird (well, other than avoid seeing the neck as WG cooked it up for himself.  Gross!)

We are a fine pair, indeed!  Now, if only the cats hadn't stolen the wishbone before we could make our wishes, we might have been able to wish for this kind of holiday every year!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

When You Send A Man To The Grocery Store...


...to buy cherry jello (amongst many other things)...he might get confused and wonder if "cherry cereza" jello is the same as regular jello?  He might look the whole jello display over trying in vain to find just regular ol' cherry jello instead of this "cherry cereza" variety....until he has a lightbulb moment and realizes his error.  



Have no fear, WG, we've all been there, done that.  
Or as they say in Spanish... "Ya he pasado por eso".

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Walk

We want to orchestrate life.  We want to plan and choreograph moments, aiming for perfection, worrying about any risk that might flaw the moment or scar the memory.  We practice our lines, we over-think our appearance, our location, our intentions.  But then, in the rumblings deep in our heart, we hear it, the low, loving, chuckle of the only One who can make a moment, an appearance, a conversation perfect.  God's laugh is the very contagious sort that makes me stop, smile and join in on the humor.  Ah, yes, it is entertaining when we think life is about creating perfection, or worse yet, being perfect.  I am thankful for that Fatherly chuckle that reminds me again and again that it is about the journey itself.

Our journey, or this particular part of it, took place in the park downtown.  The disappointment for WG was palpable the moment he parked the Jeep.  The holiday lights were strung, the candy cane arches were present, the scene was, in fact set, but not turned on.  Instead of festive, holiday cheer, there were skateboarders enjoying the empty fountain basins.  But WG knew, it wasn't about lights, or Christmas, or ambiance, it was about the walk.

And so he took my hand, and we walked.  We talked about his house, and the advice the realtor had given him.  We talked about school, and about gift ideas for his family.  We talked about families, and silently paused to be gracious for our own blessed life.  

He stopped me by the nativity, empty but for a half dozen plastic cheep grazing nearby, and got down on his knee.  Even knowing this was coming, even knowing each step that had led us here, I was still overcome and surprised to see this man I love so dearly, down on a knee in the cold November night.  

His words didn't come out quite like he wanted them to, and he didn't say all that he had practiced to say, but it didn't matter a single bit.  I knew what his heart was telling mine.  My answer, of course was of no surprise to him, either, and I wasn't even able to surprise him when I handed him the card that has been tucked in the Bible my mom gave me, in the pages of Ephesians since our one-month anniversary in March of 2011.  

"I wondered about this," he said.


He opened the card, the seal signed with his signature and dated nearly two years ago, and read, "Sweet James, Someday, in the not-so-distant future, you are going to ask me a question.  my answer is, without a doubt, an unwavering -Yes!"

For all we've been through as 40-something's trying to navigate the dating path, for the struggles along the way that took us out of each other's lives for a time, I had always believed that he was the kind of man I wanted to spend my life with.  I knew it a month into dating him, and I know it now.  

Our walk together has been far from perfect.  We don't say the right things, we don't do the right things, we don't always look to each other like the people we intend to be for the one we love.  But that's our journey.  And it will be our marriage.  

I have waited what feels like a thousand years for this man and for this love.  




My dear sweet James, it will not go as planned, it will not go perfectly, but God planned us to be perfect for each other.  Yes! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Oh The Changes He's Made

"You know, Eliza, I've made a lot of changes since we started dating."

"I am hoping you think of them as good changes, WG."

"Well, yeah.  I mean mostly."

"Mostly?"

"Well, except the side dishes."

"Side dishes? What do you mean side dishes?"

"Well, when I cooked a meal before, I never had to make side dishes, too!"

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

I Still Haven't Learned

I ruined my first engagement story.  Not that it was heaping with romance to begin with, but I certainly didn't help matters when I kept demanding to see my ring.  (In my defense, I honestly believed he was proposing to me with the family diamond in its original setting and not the setting we had picked out together for my ring.) For weeks after, through all the retellings of how he proposed, I always had to admit to sounding like a superficial, materialistic, demanding fool.  Always the way you want to come across as a new fiancée.

With a second proposal looking like more and more of a possibility, I vowed to not repeat this mistake, an objective that seems easy enough considering there isn't a family diamond to be dealing with this time around.

Little did I know, however, when I picked out the general look of the ring (WG picked out the actual ring) that it would take four weeks to be "hand crafted" in California.  Anyone who knows me knows that patience is not a virtue I have in abundance.  As the weeks have ticked by, and no romantic down-on-one-knee proposal has occurred, I have found myself muttering more than once, "I wish my ring would get here!  Where is it?"  Until I realized that I was repeating the same mistake all over again.

Sigh.  It really has nothing at all to do with the bling, I swear!  I am just so excited to tell everyone and to get married that I am impatient for the ring that proclaims it to the world!

But seriously, where is that darn ring?!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Telling Flash

The ring is ordered.  Plans are underway and dates are being tossed about.  Knowing we need to contact a pastor before too long, WG and I decided it was time to talk with Flash.  WG wanted to talk with him first, in a sort of asking-permission-hoping-he's-in-favor kind of a way, but having been through this on the not-so-well-handled receiving end before, he was a bit nervous.  But, since Flash needed a ride home today and WG has become Flash's personal taxi as of late, WG decided today was the day.

Not knowing exactly how to start the conversation, WG handed Flash his iPhone, keyed up to a picture of my ordered ring, and said, "I'm not sure how to start this conversation..."

To which Flash replied, "So, this isn't a joke then?"

Fortunately, Flash wasn't joking when he offered his support and blessing upon the idea.

Whew.

When I arrived home, the boys had finished raking leaves and we all talked about the few details we currently know and expressed mutual agreement on our priorities and goals for this process and occasion.

After negotiating the fickle mind of a teenager, the meeting with the pastor should be a breeze, right?

Right?!?


So, later on, Flash has a couple revelations about what the new arrangement will be like.  "Hey! Wait!  This means we'll finally have a shop vac!"  And later still, "...and WG drinks Bigby coffee, right!  Woohoo, no more Folgers for me!"  And even later still..."Hey!  I will get to watch the Discovery Channel!"  So glad he has his priorities in order.  I know that those are MY top three benefits from marrying WG!!


Saturday, October 13, 2012

DayQuil Doesn't Help with Scrabble

"Quick, give me a word that has two w's."

"Willow", said Flash instantly.

"Wow," said WG.

"I know, he's amazingly fast, isn't he?" I replied to WG about Flash's quick response.

"No, just 'wow'".

"I know, I ask him words quite often and he can just come up with them off the top of his head.  It's amazing."  I said.

"No, Eliza.  'WOW' is a word with two w's!"

I blame the colds meds.

What He Said

Snitching a pack of peanut M&M's off the tables, WG came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me.

"You smell like peanuts!" I said.

WG stood with his arms around me for a moment before I realized he was holding his breath.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Holding my breath.  I didn't want you to have to smell my peanuts."

(If you don't see what's funny about that, try saying it out loud.  You"ll get it.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Around the World

My dad and second mom visited my classroom on Friday, bringing with them smiles and hugs and encouraging words to the kids (and me!) and some extra sets of flash cards that we were in need of.  We put one set to good use today, when we found we had a few minutes of unclaimed time before recess, by playing Around the World.

I will admit, right off, I don't play this game often in my classroom, mainly because it's a special treat when my sub is here but also because it feels like two kids doing math facts while everyone else sits and chats and waits for their turn.  I much prefer games that are more engaging for everyone, but I digress.

So, today we played.  We are focusing on learning one set of addition facts at a time, so we have only learned 0's, 1's and 2's so far.  We had a fun time playing and I found myself full of heartbreak for those that kept getting beat every.single.round, but also thrilled to see my kids encouraging and cheering for each other.

My little K, full of giggles and a thousand, "I love you's" every day got so excited as she made her way through the desks that she was nearly skipping by the time she got back to her row.  When she successfully landed back in her seat, having beat everyone in the class with her speed, she threw up her hands and laughed and giggled and ran to hug me crying, "I've never won this game before!"

She talked about it for the rest of the afternoon and even as we walked to the bus, she was still glowing.  I reminded her that she'd better keep practicing because there were a lot of kids that would want to beat her now, and she was pumped up and ready for the challenge.

I know there are so many in my room that feel defeated; they know they aren't good readers; they know they aren't the fastest at math.  I hope I can remember to find ways for all of them to have victorious moments like K did today.
Walking through the hall at school this morning, on my way to make copies, One of my second graders came bounding up to me with all the spunk and enthusiasm that only a seven year old can experience at that hour of the day.  Full of hugs and giggles as she always is, I said, "K?   I think it is so wonderful to be such a happy person as you are every day! Are you always happy?"

To which she giggled back, "Only when I see you!"

Making me, just as excited about the day as she was, even for that early hour.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Difference of Priorities

"The race is on tonight, babe."

"The race is on?  It's on a channel you get?!  It must be on Fox.  THAT'S why my ball game isn't on.  Stupid Fox is broadcasting the race!"

"No, it's just your cheap girlfriend that doesn't have cable."

"One day, you might just come home and turn on the TV and find...."

"...that I have cable?!  I'd better have a husband AND cable then."

"Well...you might have cable THEN a husband..."

"Priorities.  I see where your priorities are!"

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

Every Wednesday night at six, Flash has marching band practice.  He returns home well-past nine, starving.  Leftovers don't last long in this house and I certainly know better than to think there will be anything to grab on a Thursday morning for my lunch unless it's hidden in the vegetable drawer.

This week, Flash came home and mush to his ravenous delight, discovered leftover pork chops in the fridge.  While the chops reheated in the microwave, Flash search for barbecue sauce.  There wasn't much left in the ogle, but enough for him to get by on for his fourth meal.  He tried to shake what little remained down to the top, but it was cold and thick and not easily persuaded to pour out so he did what any teenager, but no knowing adult would do, holding the bottle like a sword over his shoulder, he sliced it through the air, successfully moving the sauce from the bottom of the jar, but using so much force that he popped the lid off and barbecue sauce fling across the kitchen floor in a gashing arc.

Reading a book upstairs in bed, I heard the thwack and the tell-tale, "Oh crap!" from my child.

"Everything okay down there?" I asked with trepidation.

"Yes," he said unconvincingly.  "I just spilled barbecue sauce on the kitchen floor.  I will clean it up."

I heard water running and scrubbing, so I went back to reading my book.

Eli came bounding up the stairs for safety reasons, I suppose, but stopped at the top landing of the stairs.  I could hear excessive licking.  "Um, Flash?  Did Eli get into the barbecue sauce by chance?"

"I don't see how he could have, Mom.  Maybe he just stepped in a little," Flash assured me.

Eli came to lay in his usual spot by my bed.  As I lay cuddled up in warm blankets reading, I realized I could smell barbecue sauce quite well.  "I think Eli might have gotten into some," I tell Flash.

"If so, it can't be much," he responded.

I continued to read; the dog continued to lick; I continued to smell barbecue sauce.

I put my book down and peered over the edge of the bed at the dog.  Running down his spine, like an excessive dosage of Frontline, was a huge blob of barbecue sauce that he was desperately trying to reach.

Poor thing was a direct target of the assault, had it washed off by Flash before he could even lick it clean and then had to suffer a bath.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Yeah, That One!

Standing over her shoulder, checking her journal for creativity, grammar and penmanship, I noticed K had written, "In the desert you might find those animals with hips."

"The animals with hips, K?  What do you mean?"

"You know, the ones that you can ride on?  Some of them have one hip, some have two?"

"Oh, humps!  You mean a camel!"

Never a dull moment reading second grade writing!

As Though He Were the Only Funny One in this Relationship

Standing next to the car while the tank filled at the gas station, WG remembered that he wanted to give me some grocery money and started peeling bills off his bundle of cash.  Having some fun with the moment, standing outside the car looking in, he teased, "I don't normally have to pay this much for these services, but I guess you were worth it...."

To which I quickly replied, loudly enough to entertain the same gas station audience that thought I was a prostitute, "Well, I admit, I feel badly charging you full price when you were done so quickly..."

Yeah, I think he forgot for a moment whom he was dealing with.  He remembers vividly now.


How He Continues to Woo Me

I was worried about all the wrong things, apparently.  As WG and I approached the doors of our first jewelry store together, I was reciting in my head words to ensure that he would not be sent into a tailspin four seconds in the door.  I was worried that he'd die of a heart attack on the spot from sticker shock.  I was concerned that he might find my tastes in rings to be hideous.  I stressed over how he might react to pushy salespeople.  I took deep breaths, and walked in ready to guard him, and protect him from all evils that make men loathe jewelry shopping.

We were immediately greeted at the door by two very eager saleswomen.  I swear I even held my arm out in a "back off!" gesture while I quickly clarified that we were only browsing, and we had only just begun, hoping to clue them in to the idea that we would NOT be leaving with carats in our pockets.

The woman nodded and tried to lure us in with beverages.  "Can I get you something to drink?  Water? Cappuccino?"  I politely declined, but thinking that WG might certainly enjoy this process more if he had a delicious cappuccino in hand, I turned to him as the saleswoman inquired if she could get him anything.

To which, WG retorted, "Oh, we aren't together!"

I think the saleswoman was pretty well filled in that we weren't going to be purchasing anything that evening.

Broaching the Subject

I am, in all honesty, surprised at how fast WG and I have moved from the hypothetical "do you think we'll get married some day?" to riding in his Jeep to a local jewelry store so he has some idea of the sort of ring to put on my finger.  I am trying not to panic.

We drove to the next biggest city on this quest and so there was time for trapped conversation en route.  We talked over this potential issue and that; we discussed concerns and fears.  We were open and honest and vulnerable, as these steps in the process need to be.  We carefully worded our concerns, avoiding defense techniques or worse, scaring the other one off because we didn't take the request for a satellite dish seriously enough.  Hypothetically speaking, of course.  Ahem.

There were a few moments of silence while we pondered points made and opinions offered, when WG said he had something very important to ask me.

Believing beyond doubt that my man was going to propose while driving, I worried about the intensity of his question and was already preparing myself to not get defensive, but to stay calm and open to whatever he was going to say.

WG took a deep breath and said, "What are we eating for dinner?"

Sigh.  No worries that he will become a sappy romantic anytime soon, that's for certain!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Flash emerged from his room and asked if he could get me anything.

"Sure," I replied.  "A husband, a million dollars, a teaching job without administrators and a dessert that makes me lose weight."

Flash replied, "One: I think that's your responsibility.  Two: Fine, but I am going to need about a million dollars to buy enough tickets to get the winning one.  Three: Start your own school, and Four: There's this amazing French dessert that does the trick." He continued with flair and a terrible accent, "It's called aire!"

Oh that kid.  Wherever does he get his sense of humor.  Oh right....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mr. Fix-It

Yesterday Flash met me on the back steps as I came in from work with a lawn mower wheel in his hand.  As he showed me how it broke right off the wheel mount, I became instantly empathetic to my dad, as I remember how he used to say, "Can I just get in the door before I have to deal with something?"

Broken clean off, it didn't give one hint of "fixable" but screamed of "replace me!" the idea of shopping for a new lawn mower sounding about as inviting as cutting each blade of grass by hand did.

I decided my best plan was to not deal with it right then.  I had absolutley no idea what to do about it, and I wanted nothing to do with buying a new one.  So, like a good middle child, I simply postponed the decision.

Today, I had a message from WG, "Have an idea about the mower.  Let me take a look at it today."  He was an instant hero in my book simply for taking the burden of figuring it out off my shoulders.  Tonight, he backed the Jeep into the drive and pulled my briefly broken mower out of the back.  He showed me how he fabricated a new mount and bolted this thing to that and adjusted the-I didn't even car what, I was over the moon excited!  HE FIXED IT!  He took a wheel that was broken off.... BROKEN OFF - a concept that in all my stubborn independence, I am afraid I know nothing of how to fix things that are BROKEN OFF - and he returned my mower ready to go.  He even topped it off with gas as he knew my little red tank was empty.

I could not even formulate a thank you sincere enough or deep enough grateful enough for what I feel.  It isn't just that someone fixed it, or that the cost was $5, or that it was up and running the very next day, it's that I never even had time really to worry about it.  I didn't have to stress about buying a new one, or shouldnI just buy another used one, or do I take it somewhere to see if they can weld it?  I never had to even THINK about the broken mower.

WG did.  he thought about it all morning at work.  If you get a steak from the market that seems a bit more choice than prime, it's because he was a bit distracted while grading cattle this morning, trying to figure out how to fix what I assumed was unfixable.  For me.

Maybe, just maybe, God wanted me to be single all these years so I wouldn't take for granted these amazing things that WG does for me.  If that's the case, may I never, ever forget to be grateful.  These are the things that mean the most.

Monday, September 24, 2012

There are Two

I had no idea the trouble that would come from playing Scarbble with WG.  First, it was just a casual game or two, out on the deck usually, occasionally with Flash and his girl, but usually just the two of us.  For a man who is often stuck on what word he means to say, WG was quickly addicted to what I originally thought was an ill-suited game.

It got worse when he discovered the iPhone app.  Now he plays at work against the computer, or he plays with me, when he is at home watching the Tigers game and I am at home curled up in bed reading on my iPad.

Then we started playing on our devices sitting next to each other on the sofa.  Sad, perhaps, but now that he can use a built-in dictionary and has a quick reference to all the two-letter words, there is no going back to the traditional board version of the game.

He has gotten to be such an addict that he will mention how many points a word is in regular conversation.  Or he'll announce how many of those letters are in the game.  He can tell you what word he has scored the highest with, and what his highest point total for a game has been.  I was already looking into a 12-step program for him before tonight's incident.

Tonight, sitting side by side on the couch, him with his iPhone and me with my beloved iPad, we went back and forth in a couple of games.  As I sat wondering what the odds were for me to get a "c" to make the word "juice", I inquired of the new Scrabble genius at my side, "How many c's are in Scrabble?"

To which my beloved man answered by exiting the game and looking at the name on the app, "There is only one 'c' in "Scrabble"."

He knew his error the minute the last word came out of his mouth, but by then I was in a fit of giggles.  Oh my dear sweet man, I meant in the game itself.

I never did get the answer, but I think he might be calling the hotline even as I type.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Romantic

"Hey, Eliza, did I tell you about the rose I have in the yard?  It has this long stem, and it's this gorgeous color, and the minute it starts to bloom and open...."

"Yes, WG?"

"I'm going to cut the %#&$@?! thing for you!"

"Aw, WG, you're such a....romantic!"

Friday, September 14, 2012

He's the Kind of Man...

...who buys me beautiful flowers because the last ones he bought me have died.

...who surprises me with books and games for my classroom.

...who sits at a football game with me to watch a child that is not his play in the band.

...who is perfectly happy eating leftover meatloaf for dinner.

...who listens to me ramble on and on about my kids at school.

...who not only watches a video of my students but wants me to stop and tell him about each child.

...who drives me to and from the football game so I don't have to be ther as early as the band kids.

...who does all these things on HIS birthday.

Happy birthday, WG!  We will celebrate in much better style tomorrow, but I didn't want today to slip by without me saying how blessed I am to have you in my life!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Yesterday was one of "those days".  Shuffled through meetings, lengthy discussions about tangential aspects of teaching, time spent in training sessions on skills I am already adept at, more updates and news trickling down from administration that makes little sense to those of us in the classroom, and the latest batch of oh-by-the-way-we-have-this-to-deal-with-this-year challenges.  Sigh.  The kind of day when I want to call up the local university and persuade undecided majors not to choose the teaching profession.

When all was said and done, I returned to my classroom.  While I have been there every week all summer long, I still have a to-do list that isn't to-done.  Thats's just part of teaching; I spent days creating materials and thinking through logistics for my writing station, but that's just one small segment of our day.  There's still math, spelling, reading....the list truly never ends.

I made headway, but still had miles to go when I called it quits and sat at my reading table to reflect and gather myself before heading home hours later than originally planned.  And that's when I started to cry.  Looking around the room, there is endless possibility for 25 second graders.  I already know three that are more than just a little behind.  I know one who had such a terrible year last year that his parents were going to transfer him out of our district.  One of my students from last year is returning to my room specifically because I will probably be able to handle his extreme emotional needs better than a new teacher who hasn't had a year's experience with him might.  I thought about the increase in expectations on teachers, how we might as well write "miracle worker" next to some of the requirements.  I thought about our fledgling curriculum, on the downhill spiral due in part to apathy and part to bad press and passing responsibility, but added pressure in any case to show its merits.

To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement.

But then it hit me.  The kids are coming!  In just 24 hours, my room will be buzzing with excited little second graders.  They will be checking out their desks, and showing their parents around the room.  They will find their cubby and their bug in the hallway.  They will hug me and shy away from me and giggle and be nervous right there beside me.

And I breathed a sigh of relief.

I will do my best.  And my students will too.  Most days.  Somedays I will be tired, and some days they will be tired.  Some days we will learn so much and others our brains will not absorb a single thing.  We will laugh and play and sneak in hours of learning disguised as fun and yet we will also spend time discussing better choices and practicing behaviors and sitting with heads down at our desks.

And no matter how the year ends, no matter what my scores say on my evaluation, or what the state says about the status of our school, or what the politicians say should be happening in my classroom, I will know that I poured my heart and soul into my kids.  I will know that they got every bit of energy and enthusiasm and passion that I have for my profession, often at the cost to my own child.  All of us in Room 18 will know that we had the best second grade year ever.

And that is what counts in my book.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In Case You Were Feeling Magnanimous

I recently updated my classroom website and included a wish list generated on Amazon.  I just thought all my faithful readers might like to see it, too.  I have 25 Bright, Unique, Generous second-grade students (B.U.G.S.) this year who would love some of these games and books!

http://amzn.com/w/356EC7H8NGW0E

:)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

1201

I cannot watch American Idol.  Under circumstances of extreme work avoidance, I have watched two episodes of America Has No Talent Whatsoever.  I don't turn on The Voice, or X Factor or any of these supposed talent shows.   For one reason alone.  I get so angry at the loved ones of these poor kids.  Why has no one along the way had the grace and courage to tell these people that THIS is not their talent?!  That God has big plans for their lives but it does not involve singing, or dancing or balancing on cement pipes or whatever it is.  I think we owe it to these people to nudge, or in some of these cases, shove them toward their true talents.

Which is why people, I am upset with you, my dear, faithful readers (all two of you. Ex-boyfriends just stalking to see if I got married yet don't count, and for the record, no, I haven't, but you still weren't Mr. Right).  I just wrote my 1200th post.  TWELVE HUNDREDTH POST.  Seven years of complete drivel and none of you have stopped me.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.

To think, if one of you brave souls had told me seven years ago to stop this ridiculous writing and apply myself to a craft, I might be your next American Idol.  For shame, people, for shame.

Shout Out

I would like to give a shout out to my long-time reader, first-time commenter, real life "second mom".  It made my day to have an actual comment on a post!  This is my huge, Internet hug, full of gratitude!

XOXO

EJ


Well Done


During the past three years, I have been remarkably fortunate to be a part of training at school designed to realign how we teach reading and writing skills with what brain research has been discovering.  From the very start, it appealed not only to my analytical mind, giving order to a language that seems at first glance to be full of exceptions and not many rules, but also, it appealed to the teacher in me, truly helping me to empower my students to discover, defend and celebrate their own accomplishments instead of relying on memorization or a teacher to provide the answers.


As seems true with anything new, this new process has been met with resistance, and as the training continued through the months, the negativity rose and the level of commitment to the program by many dropped dramatically.

I have been wishing for someone on our staff to step up and lead this new program, to keep it supported and strong.  To encourage and help others.  To train, to motivate, to provide answers if possible.  I have been hoping for someone to begin a focus on the parents in our community, to teach them parts of the program so it stops being something foreign, and becomes something they advocate for, too.  I have been waiting for someone to make this program a priority.  

To say I have been frustrated would be quite the understatement.  But I am not here to argue my case for the program.

I have been reading a book called, Love Does by Bob Goff, which has really challenged  me to DO more with my life and faith and passions.  Tonight, as I closed the book (figuratively.  Reading on an iPad takes away all my idioms.) I realized how true Mr. Goff's words were and how I would like to discover ways in my life where I can DO more, instead of just THINKING, or in this case, complaining more.  

I shared a chuckle with God tonight when I realize how dense I have been.  (I am so grateful that His patience is endless, because he must really wonder if I will ever listen sometimes.)  

Today, as I left school, my principal asked if I would be interested in being committee chair for language arts in our building.  After a few questions, I readily agreed, and while it isn't an appointment carved in stone just yet, I can see God's hands in the process.

As Chair, I would have the position and power to help influence our decisions on the exact topic I have grown so passionate about.  The curriculum for reading that I am concerned about, would now be a topic of our meetings and considerations.  I am exactly the person I have been hoping for.  

I am certain God's plan for my "To Do" list goes far beyond "support new reading curriculum", but perhaps it is where I start.  I know, at the end, I hope to hear the words, "Well, DONE, my good and faithful servant", so I had better get to doing.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flash the Professional



A friend of mine recently asked if Flash might be interested in taking pictures of her son to mark his second birthday.  Flash readily agreed, on the condition that the pictures not be posed shots.  These are only a small sampling of what he captured with his lens.  While the pictures are good, the subject of them is beyond adorable.  





Abundance

My garden has had its struggles this year.  My zucchini plant has died, a fate I have wished upon an over-producing plant in years past, but this event occurred long before my freezer was full.  My pumpkins were ready weeks ago, and thus met their fate of being a treat for my friend's cow.  My cucumbers simply decided this was not their year at all and my cantaloupe is still trying to decide what to do.  The one plant that never ceases to amaze me with productiveness, however, is the cherry tomato.  I only ever plant one cherry plant, and yet, by mid-August, I am certain I could feed most of Michigan with just that one plant.  Having eaten more than my year's quota this past month, having given away to all that would take and having bowls upon bowls still sit upon my counter, I decided to try something new.  And so, on this cool, August morning, my house is filled with the amazing aroma of slow-roasting tomatoes.


I followed a recipe (well, vaguely, you all know that I think recipes are just basic outlines not to be heeded too closely) that I found online and in a few hours we will sample our first batch of slow-roasted tomatoes.  If what I read is any indication, my attitude towards my ever-producing plant may very well change.  I hope to stock the freezer with this delectable treat, to enjoy in the depths of Michigan winter, when summer seems like an impossible dream.
At the moment, the only thing that surprises me is that WG, living just four miles away, hasn't smelled these roasting and shown up on my doorstep.  Perhaps when I get the bread baking, with visions of bruschetta later, he will come running.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Why It's Best Not to Ask Flash For Help


"Hey Flash, can you help me brainstorm some animals and their sounds for a second grade assignment.  You know, cat, dog, mouse, etc."

"Sure, Mom.  How about a zebra?"

"What sound, exactly, does a zebra make, Flash?"

“Hummmphrumpphadum”

"Sounds like a rather uncertain zebra"

"Zebras are rather uncertain animals, mom."

"How about another idea?"

"How about a waterbuffalo?"

"A waterbuffalo?  What sound, pray tell, does a water buffalo make?"

“Well, something like, 'Oh, God! Oh God, there’s a lion!' but in water buffalo-speak."

"You are a great help, Flash."

"Fine.  How about an alligator?"

"How about if we just think of objects that make noise."

"Oh, that’s easier.  A machine gun, rocking chair…"

"I’m going to skip the machine gun, since, again, this is a school project.  But I need the sound to be just one word, you know, like cat says meow, dog says woof. .."

"Fine, how about a television?"

"What does a television sound like?"

“SpongeBob SquarePants?”

"Flash."

"Okay, how about a computer?"

"I know I’m going to regret this, but what does a computer sound like, Flash?"

"Boop, beep, boop, beep, bop!"

"Let's hope the second graders are better at this than you are, Flash."
She was always pushing me, kindly, to try online dating.  After years of being single, she had finally met this amazing man who was so smitten with her, that she wanted me to have that same joy.  Even after his dibilitating stroke only a short time later, she stuck by his side, faithful in his struggle.

We all struggled to understand God's purpose in his stroke.  As if the joy those two had found together was too much, and had to be trimmed back.  It was difficult for everyone, but she pushed through.

So when her diagnosis came, lung cancer, in a non-smoker, any attempt to comprehend a purpose became impossible.  In her early 40's, her parents had to move in to help.  She finally had to make the impossibly difficult decision to put her new, far too young, husband in assisted living as she was unable to care for him properly while undergoing rounds of chemo and radiation. It's all too familiar, in so many ways.  We were friends before, but she turned to me with confidence during, because I was an expert on these things in her eyes.  

And the cancer simply continued to spread.  One small victory was only met with yet another discovery of cancer in a new location.  Her back, her bones, and finally, her brain.

She would stop me in the halls at school to talk about the process of dying.  I had been there, when my mother passed and she wanted answers, she wanted comfort.  She wanted peace.  As difficult as it was to think about those days with Mom, I told her anything she wanted to know.  I promised her all the things I had no right to promise.  "It is peaceful, painless...". We talked about God and Heaven, and while she believed, it was easy to understand her struggles to grasp His love in all of this.

It was alsways difficult for me, to see her.  Sitting in a meeting, I would watch her scratch her head under an itchy wig, and I would flashback to Mom doing the exact same movement.  I would visit her at home and with her wig off, her bare, round head just made my heart ache for my mom.  But we sat and talked and I comforted in every way I knew how.

I went last week, with friends, to visit her in the hospital.  One friend asked me if it was hard for me to be in the hospital, to see it all again.  "No," I said, "I know she needs me." But she was surrounded by so many people, so much family, so much pain.  Her need now was for medicated comfort, and her time left was no longer hers, but existed to give all of us time to say goodbye.

And so we did.  We said goodbye to a beautiful woman.  Imperfectly human.  A co-worker who equally drove you crazy with disorganization but still lit up a room with her tender heart for teaching.  She loved the kids.  But now she is gone.

And once more, we begin a school year with the loss of one of our own.  The familiar extends to the whole staff, reliving another such loss just a few short years ago.  We will comfort each other and say trite, unhelpful things like, "She is better now," but we all wish for more than that to hold onto.  We all wish for an explanative glimpse into God's perspective.  We all wish such terrible things didn't happen to such good people.
"Thanks for putting the top down on the Jeep, WG!"

"It's the perfect day for a ride with it off, isn't it, EJ?"

"It sure is.  There's only one problem, WG."

"What's that, EJ?"

"You just got passed by a minivan full of grey-haired folks and now you're getting passed by a Prius."

"Drat.  My Man Card is in my wallet.  You might as well just throw it out the window."

"I will put you on probation, just this once, but if that gravel truck blows past us in the right lane, I am out of here."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Retired

I have spent hours waiting in parking lots.  I have spent days of my life being a taxi driver, shuttling Flash here and there and back again.  Even on my own birthday, I was little more than a source of transportation to get him where he needed or wanted to be, and then, of course, home again when it was all over.

I have sat in the passenger seat teaching, suggesting, nudging, cringing as he learned and practiced the art of driving.  I have sacrificed my plans, my desire to just get there so that he might learn and gain more exoeience each time we went out.  I have spent countless hours coaching him in and out of parking spaces, backing into the garage and demonstrating safe techniques in all kinds of weather.

I was there, at the Secretary of State's office, waiting with an anxious boy when he got his driving permit.  I was there, each and every day, waiting in the parking lot a good distance from home while he took the necessary classes.  I was there beside him as he hit the telephone pole, as he pulled out too quickly, as he cut someone off or as he took a turn too fast.

I was also there when he drove me without a word of correction. I was there when he started feeling comfortable enough to drive with one hand on the wheel.  I was there, playing with the radio, demonstrating distractions to a boy who was no longer flustered, no longer easily distracted.  I was there when he drove home from school at night, in the rain and the door handle went unclenched.  I was there when he drove on the highway, passing cars and trucks and my heart didn't race.  I was there when he calmly practiced parking over and over until he felt successful.

And I was there, in the backseat as required, when he took his road test.  I was there, absolutley silent as he performed every maneuver asked of him.  I was there, biting my lip, holding my breath, feeling nervous for a biy who didn't show it himself.  And I was there when the instructor handed him his certificate with compliments.

So forgive me, if today, I linger in bed with a book.  Forgive me if my to-do list sits untouched for a while longer.  Understand that for just today, the first day of my retirement from chauffeur services, if I don't relax just a little, self-indulge just a bit, while he drives himself too and from band camp.  Oh sure, I still utter more advice upon his departure- about the fog, about his headlights, about his return-than he deems necessary, and I still wait with phone in hand for him to text to say he has arrived safely,but the rest of my day will be spent ignoring the clock.  No where to be, no reason to stop in the middle of anything to go pick him up or take him back.  My day is, for once, my own.

Bittersweet.  Bittersweet indeed.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ominous sign?


Here's to hoping that the dark cloud that stood watch over us in the parking lot while Flash practiced parallel parking isn't a bad omen for his road test today!  We thought using a church parking lot might keep God as involved as possible!  Let's pray He is always along for the ride with my soon-to-be teenage driver!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

The Misadventures of Faux Flash

Flash left for Burma in June.  There may have been a two- or three- day stupor where I cried and worried and felt the bottomless pit of loneliness.  But then, the doorbell rang.


When I opened the door, I was stunned.  Flash was standing outside my door!



How could this be?  Wasn't Flash on a plane to Burma?
I cautiously opened the door and welcomed  Flash home.

"Flash" made himself at home, relaxing in the recliner...
...and shooting me with his Nerf gun whenever he got the chance.
It was rather nice, having Flash home for the summer!

 His girlfriend was quite surprised to see him at her graduation party!


 She had been so sad that Flash would be away for her celebration, and was creeped out tickled to see him!

 Flash had mad air hockey skills we were unaware of and beat M single-handedly!

 Some friends weren't so happy to see Flash.  They had looked forward to his absence...

...but after he told his favorite party jokes, everyone warmed right up to him!
 Flash helped make pizzas for our traditional movie night dinner. I became a bit suspicious when he tried to add Tobasco to the sauce, but when he piled his pizza high with an odd assortment of ingredients, I knew it was my boy.

Flash picked out the movie - a sci-fi thriller.  He thought it was amazing.

 Papa thought Flash seemed a little "flat" and not his usual self but he appreciated his help fixing the step on the deck.

...And so the summer progressed, with "Flash" eating me out of house and home, and always complaining there wasn't enough food in the house.  Until....


 ...the REAL Flash arrived home today and said, "DIE IMPOSTER, DIE!!"


And Faux Flash died.

But the real Flash is home!!  YIPPEE!!!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Think There is a Connection Here?


1.  I brushed all this fur off of ONE of the cats.

2.  I was up at 2am with a severe allergy attack.  

Related?  You be the judge.

P.S.  anyone want a cat?  No, seriously, anyone want a cat?  I'll make a two-fer deal!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Wrong Kind of Hungry

WG and I were standing in the kitchen putting dinner together.  Sidling up to him, I leaned in for a kiss.  Not receiving much passion reciprocated, I pulled back.  Ever the romantic (cough cough), WG said almost the appropriate words, "...look so delicious, I just want to eat..." almost perfect.  if only he had been talking about me and not the biscuits fresh out of the oven.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Switched!

My phone rang while I was eating lunch, checking my email on my iPad and firing up the laptop to get some schoolwork done. The caller said she was sitting alone, by a lake, watching the boats. She said everyone else was tubing the river and she stayed behind for some quiet time. It was when she said she had just finished reading an entire magazine cover to cover that I asked her to hold on for a second, and I looked again at my cell phone. The display clearly stated that my sister was on the line, but my sister never sits still, is never alone and never does one single thing uninterupted, like reading a magazine. She could give classes on how to multi-task your multi-tasking list.

I am not aure who should be more frightened about the switch in lifestyles but I am certain it was short-lived for both of us. I am sure she is already fixing snacks and laying out dry clothes for the tubers and I am plumping the couch cushions getting ready to nap during the baseball game (wait, that's multi-tasking, right?)

I've got to say, though, I am proud of ya, Jules! Enjoy the quiet life!

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Almost Constant Companion

He is by my side all day every day. If I go upstairs, he follows. If I go outside, he's right there with me. If I sit on the couch, he sleeps under the coffee table. When I cook dinner, he lays by the back door. He is never far, not ever. Well, until now.

For the fifth weekend in a row, my neighbors set off fireworks tonight. For some of the previously noisy nights, I have had the a/c on, but it is a gorgeous night and the windows are wide open. And other than the time my sister accidentally shut him in the garage, this was the first time ever that I couldn't find my dog. I called. I looked under my bed, his usual spot. I went downstairs and checked everywhere I could think of. I even opened the back door on the very off chance that I had left him outside. No dog. I finally found him, curled up in a ball in my bathroom back by the shower. Poor pup. He came out briefly then, but could not be convinced the scary noises were over, and he quickly retreated to his new safety spot.

Even as I write this, he is only slowly inching his way out of the bathroom, head down, timid walk, laying down again just outside the door, not daring to come any closer to the bed and the open window.

Is it completely unreasonable to call the police and tell them my neighbors are greatly disturbing my dog's peace?

Poor Eli.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Cost to Breathe

I had no idea the price of air was so expensive that we would need our credit cards! Conserve each breath people!

Unexpected

All week I had been asking friends about Fisher and some potential red flags. "He never asks me questions," I said. "His sister and her family don't just live in the basement, they share his kitchen and bathroom.". While I enjoyed his company, there were little things nagging at me that kept me hesitant. Thursday evening he came over for dinner. We had a good time, but again, he talked and didn't seem too interested in things about my life. By evening's end, it was pretty clear that he had read my invitation to dinner at home as an invitation for far more than that. I knew I was far far FAR from ready for that and politely ended the night.

When my sister asked how it went the next day, I replied, "I think I just miss WG. Maybe I am not ready to do this yet." I found myself thinking about WG a lot, wishing we had been able to find common ground and make each other happy.

Part way through my day on Friday, I received an email from WG, as though he was reading my mind. He said he left something at my door, and if I was willing, he would like to stop back by when I was home to talk. There were flowers at my door when I arrived home, and shortly after, WG sat on my deck sharing his apology with me.

We have been down this road several times. It's like we know it SHOULD work, but we just can't seem to make it work. We are quick to hold affection for fear of it not being returned. We are quick to take each other for granted and not show our appreciation. We are fearful people, trying to figure out how to successfully date in our 40's, and I will freely admit, we seem to prefer to learn it the hard way.

We went for a drive and dinner at the lake yesterday. It was wonderful to be with someone familiar, someone I feel safe with, someone who knows it's all about the crab cakes at Black River Tavern and having the top down on the backroad journey there. Someone who asked about school, about Flash and about my garden. Someone who held my hand as we walked the peer and kissed me sweetly goodnight at evening's end.

Maybe it is just those simple comforts that attracts us both right now. Maybe it is the familiar, the safeness, the known that makes it work for the moment. I just hope, whatever it is, that we can figure out how to make that last. How to get past a week, a month or a year, and still be going strong.

Tonight, I am invited to dinner at WG's, a treat I will not pass up. I will take it a day at a time, but I will keep an eye on the past, that I don't repeat it, and take glances at the future to try to keep us on track to get there.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

His Johnson

I have been single off on and for a dozen years or so. I have learned to be cautious and careful. Even when I lived in PA, I always told my sister (back in helpless MI) where I was going and as much about the guy as I knew. She always waited for my "safe and sound" phone call to know she didn't need to call the National Guard. I don't let men pick me up for a date until I have gotten to know them pretty well, and I don't go to a guy's house until the same conditions have been met. Even so, I recognize axe murderers can be patient folk, and so I want to be sure about my next move.

After four dates, New Guy has asked me to come to his house to help him with his Johnson. He said something about it being eighteen inches, or was it feet?!? He said it wasn't pumping right or something and he could use an extra hand getting it to work. I am just not sure....should I go?

All kidding aside, I accepted the opportunity to go help him put a new water pump in his eighteen foot bass boat with a Johnson motor. It is the first time in my dating history that the guy has invited me to his house before being at mine. I am looking forward to it! Jules, keep that cell phone close by, just in case, though. You know how angry men can get when their Johnsons don't work properly, especially in the presence of a woman!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It is killing me not to be at the Pittsburgh airport right now. Flash will land shortly, back in the states from his amazing trip to Burma with his grandfather. I wish I could touch him, hug him, hear him in person. I just want to verify with my own eyes that he is well and safe. It will be another month before he is home, but at least I can rest easier knowing where he is. Welcome back, Flash. You have been missed.

Monday, July 09, 2012

File Under: It Could Only Happen To Eliza

Two dates with this guy (I will call him Fisher) and my elbows are killing me! It turns out that talking for hours over dinner can lead to painfully bruised elbows! Two dates, tne and a half hours of conversation...I think my elbows can make the sacrifice!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Burma Update #6

Next up: SINGAPORE

Muwahaha, you all thought I was done with these, didn't you?

Anyway. Tomorrow we fly out to Singapore, at about 10:10. It's a two
hour flight, nothing too insane, and I'll have a macbook air to amuse
me. Wooo. (The perks of being the area tech person--you get to take
stuff with you to fix it. Though, it doesn't leave Singapore. So sad.
Anywho.) I'll be working on articley stuff on the plane, so you can
expect the first few ones to be up probably late Wednesday or stupidly
early on Thursday. So woo, stuff to look forward to. (Or run from,
depending on your expectations.)

As it is, I've become renowned as the tech person for the church here,
and I'll have some fun stories to tell once I get back.

In other news, I've officially been to a true street market, and I
have the images to prove it. I was nearly inside a synagogue, and I've
been swarmed by very insistent people peddling knicnacks in what is
essentially a gigantic flea market that's just a real market.

Fun times. And an article all on its own. Woo.

But, most importantly: IN THREE DAYS I'LL BE BACK WOOOO. Don't get me
wrong, I've enjoyed my time here immensely, and I'm sure Singapore
will be awesome, but I seriously miss being able to get a decent
omelet, or coffee, or news, or clean air. (It's the little things,
really.) 'course, I'll be jetlagged to, literally, the other side of
the world. Your midnight will be my noon. Woooo.

Until then, cheers!

Flash

The Answers

1. Eliza's date was actually there early. he sent a text to tell me he was going to wait for me outside, but since it was 100 degrees, he went in and got seats. His text also asked if I wanted him to order a drink for me. Sweet, huh?

2. C. Eliza's date will finish his bachelor's degree next April, in business management and operations.

3. D. A Marine. Active six years, including time in Iraq, on reserves for ten.

4. C. He takes parenting seriously. He is involved, committed and wishes he had full custody.

5. B. he has brothers and sisters and halfs of each and steps and I am not sure I even remember just how it all goes, but he loves his mother and she loves him.

6. None of the above. A hug and an agreement that this was a really nice evening and talks about when we might do this again.

I should add, the restaurant wasn't air conditioned, and we sat in what we came to realize was the hottest room they had. Regardless, we sat there for more than six hours talking about anything and everything. He is funny, articulate, intelligent and can I add, YUMMY! :)

Technically, I am not sure who the official winner of the date quiz is...but I think I am a winner tonight!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Burma Update #5

So! I'm back in Yangon, though tomorrow (Saturday) will be my last
full day here; we fly out to Singapore on Sunday.

We didn't do too much in Mandalay--mostly sightseeing, though we did
do some connection-making with the youth there. (I think I handed out
my email to about seven different people, though Facebook still has
its reign here. They find it hard to believe that, as an American, I
don't have one.)

Here in Yangon I'm doing some work with the communication department
here, working on getting media for a website that we'll set up back in
the States. They were quite happy to have me transfer all 1455 photos
to their system, along with ten gigs of video, all of which I'm sure
will be put to good use.

When I get back to the States, I'll edit and upload a chunk of the
images I've taken, and the full library will be availible to download
after a couple weeks (hopefully). Similarly, I plan to upload some of
the more interesting videos to Youtube, for those of you that want to
watch them.

Also, for those of you not aware, I plan to write up several
articles/journaly thingies upon my return, so you'll have a more
detailed account of all that's gone on here. I'll provide links in
further emails.

Until then, cheers

Flash

The Measure of Success

Normally, I would judge a date's success by whether or not I wanted and received an offer for a second date. Tonight, I will call the date a success if I have enough fun to make blow-drying and hot-rolling my hair in 100 degree heat worth it. Nevermind the fact that I am missing the Red Sox vs. Yankees. Poor guy. Doesn't even know the pressure he is under!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Taking Guesses Now

I have a date on Friday. To add a little fun to the otherwise painful first-date experience, here is the pre-date quiz for all my readers. Prizes will be awarded on Saturday to those with the closest guesses. (Note: all questions and options are based on actual dates I have been on.) Answers must be submitted before 6pm Friday.

1. On Friday, will Eliza's date will:
A. Bring props
B. Smoke
C. Not show up
D. Be dressed like a slob
E. Be on time

2. During dinner, Eliza's date will reveal:
A. He was expelled from more than one school
B. He is working on finishing his degree
C. he owes child support money
D. He has been divorced more than twice
E. He has private body parts pierced

3. When discussing their lives to this point, he will reveal:
A. He hasn't spoken to his family in years
B. he has been responsible for a drinking and driving accident
C. He has been arrested for assault
D. He has served several years in the military
E. He is still teying to figure out what he wants to do with his life

4. Talking about his kids, Eliza's date will:
A. Say he thinks smacking them around is the best way to get them in line
B. say he hasn't seen them in quite awhile
C. Describe his parenting style as strict, cool and permissive.
D. Not have anything to say
E. Say he thinks kids are okay, but he doesn't want any.

5. If asked about his mother, Eliza's date will say:
A. She lives with him
B. She would say he is her favorite child
C. They aren't speaking
D. He talks with her every day
E. he puts flowers on her stone several times a year

6. At the end of the date he will:
A. Expect to come home with Eliza
B. be shocked when Eliza turns down his offer for a second date
C. Kiss her goodnight
D. Ask Eliza to drive him home
E. Apologize for the evening