Monday, September 29, 2008

I have cheated, and I'm not proud

Can I just say that I normally hate Walmart and I don't shop there much. Not much at all. I don't like the bad lighting and the crowds and the odd selection of stuff they stock. I like a SuperWalmart with a McDonald's ain't half bad. But even then, we have to drive 40 minutes to a nice one and I don't have the time, the inclination, or the gas. Plus, my friendly neighborhood Target is three minutes away.

Then my Mom moved to town. From a town that only had a Walmart. And she needs her Walmart fix every now and then and she took me with her last week.

Look what I found.

Cute plaid pajama pants. With a satin ribbon. For $10.

Now, these were hidden amongst a big rack of nothing special. And they were the coolest things I saw the whole trip, but they are soft and cute and I bought a black shirt to go with them. I love them.

Am I a convert? No.

I will continue to be happy with my well-lit, cheerily decorated, slightly more expensive but better quality Target around the corner. As it is, I feel like I have cheated on Target by showing you all these flannel pants, but they are so cute. I had to. I did also show you my pink plaid flip flops from Target, so I guess my conscience is clear.

It feels so good to un-burden.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

my kingdom for a chainsaw?

Dear Yard,

As my current title is Queen of the Indoors, I am sure you are wondering why I am writing to you this fine day. It has been busy here in the kingdom and I wanted to explain why the King and I have been working in the yard. It seems that the previous King and Queen of this Castle did not serve you, yard. They had their own interests in mind and neglected you.

We will not do that.

And while it has been my previous position that I would not venture out much into my kingdom, the King asked for my help this week. I would like to apologize for the chainsaws, the root killer, the airater, the tiller and any other gas powered appliance the King brought into the yard. He is only trying to make you shine, but the yard needs to be weeded. And trimmed back. And scaled down.

Let me say, yard, that I did not want the King to chop down that particular tree. I specifically asked him not to, but as it is leaning towards the Castle, it had to be banished. I wanted no part of this trip to the guillotine, but I needed to verify the King's safety and I ventured out to help.

No, I am not smiling as I haul the tree away. That is not me. I have been framed. That is an imposter who hates trees and all they stand for...things like fresh air and shade.

I am sorry, yard, that this had to happen. Come spring I will bring new life into my Kingdom with new trees, plants and flowers. The Kingdom will blossom, if you will. Please be patient, yard. The King and I have not forgotten how you have brought much joy into our lives. Do not rise up against us and go your own way. We will lead you in the right direction if you would but allow us this chance.

Sincerely, and with much affection,

The Queen

Thursday, September 25, 2008

what a moment...

I admit it...a man standing in the rain outside a rest stop proposing to his girlfriend...took my breath away. The damp kiss. The huge smiles. What a moment.

A made for tv moment. I know, I know. These people aren't real.

But Jim and Pam are wonderful and engaged and I'm so happy. I love them like I love Twilight, Pride and Prejudice and a man with a British accent. Sigh.

I love the Office.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

what's appropriate?

As a librarian I have lots of choices to make. Every time I order or shop for books I am faced with multiple decisions. And the toughest of those questions is "Is this book appropriate for my school and our readers?"

Let's back up and I will give you a few facts. I teach at a K-8 charter school. It is a public school, not a private or Christian school. But I would bet cash money that the majority of people who send their kids here are Christian and would like a private school atmosphere without the hefty tuition bill. And that is kind of what we provide. But, like you might find anywhere, some families are more liberal and some are more conservative.

Also, with so many grades in one school, my library is divided into sections: general fiction and middle school fiction. We call this the Blue Dot section because the middle school books have blue dots on the side.

What makes it Blue Dot, you might ask? Is the book level high? Is the content a little more in the PG-13 range? Is there a lot of violence or kissing or (gasp) sex?

Now, I am one person. I cannot possibly read everything that Barnes and Nobles puts on it's shelves. And if I am ordering it from a catalog, I know even less. And while there are sites that can help you figure out what interest level the book is, I can't read about all 75 books I might buy in one order. I try to preview the most popular things, but again, I am one mind. What I might think is ok, you might label as smut. And what you might label as smut, publishers and critics might be raving about it.

And that has happened. Not recently, but it happens. Remember the Harry Potter controversy? All these people up in arms about a boy wizard? I still have parents that don't allow their kids to read them, and that's their choice. And I hate banning books. I really do. It makes me uncomfortable. I think it's easier to expose kids to tough things through books and discussion rather than through TV and movies.

And teenage girl books are the toughest! Some parents might think it's ok for their daughter to read about kissing and boys. Some don't. Some parents buy their daughters books I don't shelve here and I wouldn't recommend for a sixth grader. Some parents still have their daughters reading Little House on the Prairie. And don't get me wrong...I love some Laura Ingalls, but many seventh and eighth grade girls are beyond that.

So, all this floats around in my head everytime I shelve a new book. Who will love it? Who will it offend? Where do I draw the line?

I would love to hear from some Moms out there. Especially of teenage girls. Where do you draw the line?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Have I ever told you about my love of Friends? I mean, really told you? I know, I've mentioned it before and even quoted a couple lines from it, but have I ever really confessed my deep and abiding love for all things Friends?

Get ready. It's not pretty.

Well, this picture isn't half bad.
I remember watching the first season of Friends. It was MUST SEE TV and I was in high school. It was my senior year and Friends was just a little show on Thursday nights. It started with a rich girl in a wedding dress running out on her wedding and looking up a friend she hadn't seen since high school. And I was hooked.

Friends went to college with me. Even when I didn't have a TV, I would find a buddy who had one and was watching Friends. I made friends with those people over episodes of Friends. We bonded over laughs and Ross and Rachel and OCD Monica.

Friends was there when my dad died. Every week the show brought laughter into my life.

Friends was there when I moved into my first apartment. My second apartment. My third apartment. Friends was there when I met Charlie, who'd never watched Friends before. (I almost couldn't date him, just for that reason, right?) But I introduced him to the six people that I'd grown up with. And he liked them too.

In fact, Charlie is the one who bought my first season on DVD. Then the other seasons started appearing for various holidays and occasions. We bought the fifth season right before our wedding and took it on our honeymoon. We watched episodes on my laptop.

I cried when the last episode went off. But they ended it perfectly. They wrapped up everyone's lives and made them happy.

Ten great years of Thursday nights. Ten years of my crush on Matthew Perry. Ten years of consistency. Even if everything around me was changing, Friends was on. Friends is still my therapy. When I am sad or blue, I put in a DVD and I can count on them to cheer me up. I never tire of seeing that purple apartment and frame around the peephole. I can quote half the lines and annoy others who watch with me.

I say all this because I bought this:

You're not really surprised are you? Come on. How could I resist?
It was only $3! And it doesn't look like it has been played that much. And I may not really play it either, but I will read the cards and learn more facts about my favorite show. Emily said she would play with me, and that I shouldn't cheat, but it is quite tempting. I mean, look at those smiling faces....they want me to open the box!
Now you know how deep my love really is for these fictional people. And I do know they aren't really real. I do. But they were there for me for some pretty big ups and downs and I thank NBC for that. And I find it quite ironic that Monica and Chandler experienced infertility and that I am going through that now. I have gone back and watched those episodes and they make me feel better. I know that Courteney Cox experienced infertility in her real life and I am proud that they explored it on the show. What a way to use your medium.

Now you know the truth about me and my Friends. Don't feel bad if your love isn't as deep. Don't be jealous that I now own this game. Don't laugh at me behind my back!

Come over and play!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

in real life...

I met Emily the first year I taught high school. It was also the first year I taught, period. We were both new to the school and were among the youngest staff coming in. I would be teaching Art and Emily would be interpreting for a deaf student. I immediately thought that was cool.

Her student, Yvonnia, ended up taking three Art classes, so Emily was in my class everyday. While the students were working, we got to know each other. I learned a lot of sign language and she learned to paint a little. The second year we were there she was planning her wedding and I was planning the prom. I have already showed you our prom pics in another post. And she has shared about our Dawson's Creek obsession, so you know we were very girly together.

Let me say that Emily is one of the neatest people you will meet, in real life. She is a listener. A good one. And the advice she gives is spiritually grounded and is often right on the money. She is a good counselor and a great mom. And I can tell you that we can talk about any subject. ANY subject. Like how Emily got married before me and had already been on her honeymoon and so had plenty advice for little ol' me, get it?

Now, I don't get to see tons of Emily, cause I think I mentioned that she is a great mom, which means lots of time with her kids. And she and her husband are very involved with their church, so that means even more things that they are doing. Plus, if you read Emily, you know she is a decorating madwomen with a new house as a palette. Emily was a bridesmaid and photographer at my wedding. We weren't all digital back then, but trust me, her shots are better than the photographer that I paid $1500 to have.

But when we do meet up, it's good. We fall right back into conversation so easily. This past Saturday we made a date for brunch. Then brunch led to yardsaling. And pictures in my living room (and if we look pale, don't judge. We are both sick in this photo.) We wandered around my neighborhood looking for bargains and found an extra special one that I will share in my next post. I was so excited when I spotted this gem that I actually kicked my foot up behind me liked I had just been kissed.

Friendships that last over 10 years are hard to maintain. And we go through periods where the blogs are the only way we manage to catch up.

But, I am ever so glad she's only five minutes away from me. It's sad for the rest of you, I know. But hopefully someone is an Emily to you.

Oh, and somehow I blogged right on past my 100th post. This is number 108, folks!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

the view from where I sit

In my world there are always some strange things going on. I mean, life isn't ever perfect, you know? It's pretty darn good, but if you are like me then there are always things that need to be fixed or need to be replaced or need some attention.

Like this grill cover, that looks like it was attacked by angry birds. Actually, it was ruined in that oft-mentioned hail storm with the really sharp hail that shredded all the roofs, plants and grill covers in our neighborhood.

Let's look behind the grill, shall we. And we will see something else that needs attention.

This is warped siding that was melted when my husband lit the grill but didn't pull it away from the house. Lovely. Don't know how that will get fixed, and if we hadn't noticed it....I don't want to even think about it. Really. Because that little box right under the melted siding is an electrical outlet. That's right...the house coulda burnt down.

But there is some real loveliness in my world. Like this bush that is near my driveway. I pulled in the other day and noticed this red leaf.

Bright red and ready for fall. And all ALONE on the bush that is almost six feet tall.

Can you find the red leaf now? It was the only one on the entire bush. There are more today, but this little leaf was the first of the pack. Maybe a little ahead of the pack.

Anything in your life that needs attention? What's your view look like? Anything melted or beat up or all alone? Sometimes my heart feels like that, and that is when I know I need some attention. So today, while the husband watches football, I will be curling up in my recently redecorated living room with a book and getting some alone time with me. Talk to you later.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

today is september 11th

You know, I almost skipped right by today. Really. I just looked at the date and realized what today is and was.

I remember, as we all do, what I was doing. I was teaching high school and a former student walked in to visit me and she said that there had been a plane crash. The news had just reported it and that the plane had hit a building. We didn't think much of it. I just kept teaching.

Then our principal came over the loudspeaker and told us that something important and scary was going on, and that he believed it was important for us to turn on our TVs and watch. And we did. I turned on in time to see the second plane hit the towers. And to see them fall. And to see confused looks on my kids' faces as they attempted to process this.

And to hear all the cellphones start ringing.

Many kids left early that day. Parents gathered and took their babies home. We watched the news all day, having discussions with our kids. Using this terrible attack as an authentic learning moment.

My life was not touched like other lives were touched. I did not lose a loved one or my job. But I remember and I ache for those who did.

So, if this day skipped right by you, too, take a moment and remember. Think back to where you were. Honor those who were lost by giving them a minute of your time.

It's Patriots Day.

Monday, September 8, 2008


In case you didn't already know, God works in mysterious ways. He is faithful, but hard to understand. We can't know why He chooses some things and not others, and I struggle with this. All the time.

If you have read much of my blog, you know that my husband and I are struggling with infertility and that I have shared much of that journey with you (not too much, I hope.) It is an emotional process, trying to get pregnant, and so many things can go wrong. Some months I don't ovulate. Last month, I did ovulate, but didn't get pregnant. Who knows what this month will bring?

And I cry and whine and pray. I feel like I do my part with all the temp taking and med taking and sick feeling, and my husband does his part...but our miracle hasn't happened yet.

But, my journey hasn't been that long. And my story doesn't include miscarriages or stillbirths. Melissa's does. And she is still around to blog about it. And make you laugh and cry about it.

Let me give you her backstory, so you can pop over and read her Foxhole posts. Melissa and her husband have been dealing with infertility for 9 years. Yup, nine. And she had several miscarriages and one stillborn son. then they adopted a little girl. Then she had another miscarriage last month. Now, go over and read her post. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.

You back?

Ok, now that is my kind of God. The One who answers prayers. The One who rewards someone who has been faithful that long. The One who matches the things up right at the right time.

So I read that post this morning and cried. I am so excited and so jealous at the same time. Who knows how long my journey will be and in what state I will be in down the road. But He is victorious and marvelous and pouring out His love on the Radkes right now.

My turn will come. And I can say that I honestly don't know how, but I know someday I will hold a baby in my arms.

I just want that day to be tomorrow. LOL.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

big girl clothes

I think many of you know I am losing weight. Now this summer, I didn't really try very hard, but I haven't gained any weight back from the weight I lost this spring. I have lost 15 pounds and I feel really good about it.

Until I try to buy clothes.

Let's just say that I am still in the big girl section. And we all know the BG section is way smaller than the average girl section. There is so much less to choose from. Luckily, I can get away with buying XL tops from the regular sizes and I just have to get my pants from the BG section. And that's what I was looking for: brown pants.

I wanted some nice, dressier brown pants. I wasn't looking for cotton khakish brown pants that I would have to iron everytime I wear them. I wanted wide leg dressy brown pants. Not too much to ask for, right?

I DID NOT want brown pants that taper at the ankle, thus making me look bigger. I did not want pants with a grandma elastic waste. I did not want pants that did not have pockets.

I went to two stores and could not find anything. I had been in the mood to shop and then it was just so frustrating. I almost wanted to cry. There are miles and miles of regular girl racks, and the BG section is tiny. One turn around it and you've seen everything there is to see.

Let me throw this out to designers. If such a large percentage of America is overweight, then why aren't you trying to make some money off them? If anything, I would think a big girl is going to spend more time trying to look nice, because it takes more effort to hide the things we want to hide.

I only have two more sizes to go and then I can begin looking for all my clothes in the average section. That means about 15 more pounds to go. And I know I can do it. But I wanted to look nice while I was doing it.

I wanted some chocolate brown pants since I shouldn't eat the chocolate.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

seven things

I am adapting this post from one I read on Stretch Marks. Now, Melissa is really funny and has a much more entertaining life than I do, but hey, you all might want to know the innerworkings of my here goes.

Seven things I can't do:

  • body wasn't meant to bend that way
  • sing (oh, how I wish I could)
  • straighten my hair
  • visit the reptile house at the zoo
  • watch horror movies
  • eat shrimp
  • run marathons

Seven things I do well:

  • cook
  • read
  • craft ( i am all sorts of artsy craftsy)
  • remember things...I was an awesome student because my memory is so sticky
  •, I drive well. not fast.
  • make a mess
  • email

Seven things you might hear me say:

  • shhhh (I'm a librarian!)
  • all the words, charlie. Listen to all the words.
  • ouch (I'm clumsy)
  • what are you doing wrong, and how can you fix it? (this is the teacher in me)
  • Lucy, hush!
  • water with lemon, please
  • turn over, charlie, you're snoring.

Seven celebrity crushes:

  • George Clooney
  • Matthew Perry
  • Tom Colicchio (top chef)
  • Patrick Dempsey
  • John Krasinski
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • Michael Vartan

Seven things that made me love my husband:

  • his kindness
  • his dedication to see something through
  • let's face it, he's so darn cute
  • his intelligence
  • he isn't afraid of much
  • he doens't mind that I have those seven celebrity crushes, he has his own
  • he loves me

Hope you enjoy learning about lil ol me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

pounding stereo

Today is not a good day to have a headache. Which I do...have a headache. I want to lay in bed and hide my head, but it is not quiet here.

This is what is happening at the house behind us. Our neighbors are having a new roof installed. Actually, many of our neighbors have new roofs due to the hailstorm a couple months back, that had really sharp hail. It damaged a lot of older roofs, and thereforewhatever, there are many bang, bang, bangs, to be heard around here. But on a holiday, come on!

I guess I need to cut them a little slack, cause this is my house. We are getting new gutter guard thingies and if I knew the technical name I might loose my title as Queen of the Indoors. So the husband and a friend are pounding on my roof.

And then there's the radio that my husband has outside, with nonstop sports talk. And you'd think my husband is deaf the way he has it cranked up.

And then there's Lucy, who is barking at the roofers and the gutterers and anyone who walks past.

Pound, pound.

In my head and all around it, too.

Pound, pound, football this, baseball that, bark, bark, growl, pound, "ouch, " pound, pound.


UPDATE: this morning (tuesday) I woke up and my neighbor across the street has roofers on her roof as well. This is the one time I can thank God I actually have to go to work.