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I'm happy, married, and looking forward to sharing my world with you! If you're interested, that is!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jessica's "Daily Affirmation"

When I grow up, I want to be Jessica! To have this absolutely unbridled enthusiasm and love for life - would that we could ALL be Jessica!!!

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett


This book has been getting so many rave reviews since its publication in February, 2009.

I got a copy last spring, that's A YEAR AGO, for those of you who think I might be referring to spring of 2010... But I never read it. I kept meaning to, but there was so much hype about the book, and I'm not one to jump on a book's bandwagon (with the exception of Harry Potter - I was a HUGE fan from day one!)...

But this past weekend, I forgot to pack a book for the lake. I'd finished whatever it was I was reading before, and although I recently started Eat, Love, Pray (in anticipation of the upcoming movie), I left it home. So I was bookless.

But The Help was on the bookshelf upstairs so I thought it would be a great time to start it, grabbed it along with my suntan lotion and went out onto the dock.

Let me quote a couple of Amazon reviewers:

JK8 said: "This is the best book I have read in years! I can't recommend it enough!"
KMG55 said: "I was torn between not being able to put the book down and not wanting it to end. "
Elaine said: "I was so disappointed when it ended because I wanted to keep going, I wanted to know more about what happened to these women."
Reading Addict said: "...this was an amazing book. The book was very well written and very hard to put down."
nemo22657 said: "I don't rate many books as 5 stars but this book grabbed me from the beginning."

Now these are just five random quotes I picked out of the 2000+ reviews posted on Amazon.

Here's MY review: *****. Five stars! A GREAT book. LOVED it! Would recommend it to anyone interested in the civil rights movement in the US, anyone who likes to just get sucked into a time in our history we're too young to have experienced up close and personal...

I really liked it a lot and I'm so glad I read it!

If you want to read it, just let me know. I'd be happy to pass it along!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy (Not So Much) Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, J! You are a wonderful man, a fantastic father, and the best husband a girl could ever have! Thanks for putting us first, your kids and me, ahead of yourself, ahead of the rest of the world. Thanks for worrying about me through my recent health scare, thanks for helping me stay strong, thanks for helping around the house (okay, thanks for doing everything around the house!), thanks for wanting it all for us and doing what you have to do to make sure we achieve it. You are the absolute BEST! I love you with all my heart!

And now I'm simply reprinting my blogpost from a couple of years ago, dedicated to my dad and J's dad. It's been two more years since I wrote this, and I don't miss you any less. In fact, I probably miss you MORE each day!


Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

You must know how much I miss you. I know you're there, somewhere, still a part of my life. Still watching over me. Still keeping an eye on me and guiding me when I need a helping hand.

When I hear the dishes settle on the drainboard, I think, "Hi, Dad!"

When I see a gardening book, I think of you.

When I see an Oldsmobile, I think of you.

When I visit the Harley Davidson factory and I smell the odor of machinery and grease, I think of you.

When Jack starts a project at the house, I think of you. (And I hope you keep an eye on him,too!)

When I see a cemetery, I think of you.

Whenever it's March 16, or June 14, or July 25, or August 12, or December 18, I think of you.

Whenever I have a moment, I think of you.

It doesn't really require a specific thing to make me think of you - you're still so much a part of my every day life that even though you've been gone since March 16, 1987, I talk to you every day.

I think of you every day.

I miss you every day.

When I got married, I stood up on that altar, wishing not for a happy marriage, but that you were there. I prayed for a sign from you: a breeze in that hotter-than-hot church, a window slamming, a car backfiring - I wanted you there so badly that anything would have been a sign from you!!! I wanted you to walk me down the aisle. I wanted to dance that father-daughter dance the worst way. To this day, nine years after I got married, twenty-one years after you died, I can't watch a bride dance with her dad without crying. And it doesn't matter who the bride is: Vanessa, Carrie, or a complete stranger on television.

I cry.

I miss you.

And I am angry that I didn't get to dance with you on my wedding day.

But you know what?

When it's time, when I move toward the light, when I die, you'd better be there to dance the first dance with me.

Happy Father's Day, Mr. S.

I wish you were here.

I wish I got to have a father-in-law.

I know I met you. I know you know who I am, and I truly believe that you know Jack and I are married and happy and I know you're happy for us. And I'm happy to hear Patty talk about you and say that she knows you liked me, that you were happy when Jack and I were together, and that you were annoyed with him when we split up.

But I wanted to know all that in the first-person!

I wanted to visit you during the week, have a cup of coffee or tea with you, and eat some sugar-free Jello with you.

I wanted to see you with your grandchildren. (I truly believe if you and Mom were still here that all that nonsense with Johnny would never have happened. And if you're bored wherever you are, we could use a little help with your grandson!)

I wanted to get to know you as your daughter-in-law, not just that nice girl that Jack was dating.

I'm going to have to settle for making you a part of my day, a part of our day, in all those small ways you would have been were you still here.

I mention you to Jack, I ask him about you as a dad, as a grandfather. He misses you. So very much that he can't really talk about you without tearing up, and that's the way it should be. You know what he says? He says all those times you asked him to hang around and do some work with you and he didn't 'cause he was on his way out to play or to hang with his friends - he says he should have spent that time with you. He misses learning from you, learning to do things like create the Christmas wreaths and grave blankets. He does that for you. In your memory. In your honor. Not 'cause he really likes to do it. It makes him sad. But it's a way to keep you alive with us in a really small way.

I never got to tell you I love you in real life. I hope you know now, though, that I love you and I miss you. And I'm going to be the best daughter-in-law you ever had (not a tough task, I know, considering the competition!) and a great wife to your son. I promise.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm Not Perfect (in case you were wondering!)

Okay, I read these two posts today (reality check... and my real reality) and that proverbial lightbulb went off inside my head!!! I'm NOT perfect, and I know there are a bunch of you reading this that would agree wholeheartedly!

Stephanie Howell blogged about how one of her friends talked about women scrapbookers in the industry being obligated to make their lives look perfect. Stephanie's opinion? And I quote: "a resounding no." Thank goodness! That would rank right up there with the false idea that all American women are a size zero. (For crying out loud! They didn't even HAVE a size zero when I was younger! And by the way, I really resent going into a store and seeing size 10 or size 12 clothes tucked and pinned to make them fit the size 2 mannequin - why not use real size mannequins??? Okay, I'm off my soapbox!)

I'd love to live in a neat, clean house. But I like "stuff." I have a lot of "stuff." And my "stuff" is all over my house. And I don't make a boatload of money so I can't afford to spend any of it on a maid. (Sure, if I didn't buy clothes and scrapping stuff, I could pay to have a maid... hmmm... hold on, I'll be right back! Gotta check my finances... Yea, I could afford one, but dear hubby doesn't want one!)

I admit that, right now, right this minute, if I could, I'd chuck it all and start from scratch, get a smaller house, choose light, airy colors, keep a LOT fewer tchotchkes around the house, hang more pictures on the walls, and JUST.HAVE.LESS.STUFF. But my house isn't there (yet). And I don't clean my house all the time.

We have two. Houses. I leave Friday night to go to the lake house, which is actually a little better simply 'cause we're not there all the time (but I DO need to clean off my island and my dining room table up there). We leave before 7am to go to work, five days a week, and get home 12 hours later. When exactly, after a full day at work, am I supposed to cook, clean, vaccuum, wash, dust, sort, put away? Deep down inside, yea, I want a neat, clean house. But if it looks a little lived in, perhaps a little messier than it should, I figure (1) I don't have bugs, it's just a bit messy and dusty, and (2) if you're coming over to visit, you're coming to see me or my husband, not a neat and clean house. Deal with it!

Here's my version of the "not perfect me":
  • I'm NOT perfect
  • If I can be 1/2 the mom my mother was, I'm already WAY ahead of the game
  • I am a terrible housekeeper
  • My husband does the laundry
  • I don't cook very well
  • I don't want to be perfect
  • I wear the same clothes all the time even though I have quite a few more
  • I spend too much money on books and scrapping supplies
  • Yet I don't scrap as much as I'd like (it's all at the lake so I have only the weekends to do it)
  • I can't remember the last time I dusted
  • I missed my best neighbor friend's birthday
  • We eat out several times a week 'cause I don't cook
  • I really want to throw away everything I own and start over
  • I have too much stuff
  • I am not the best wife I can be (although I beat the first one, hands down!)
  • My husband does all the gardening
  • I need to lose weight
  • I need to save more money
  • I should bring my breakfast and lunch to work, and just treat myself once a week
  • I should pray more
  • I should gossip less
  • I need to exercise more (Who am I kidding? I need to exercise - period)
  • I have really strong opinions
  • I'd rather read than do anything else
  • I also like to play on the computer and watch TV
  • I waste a lot of time at work on the computer

And then there's...

  • I'm a decent daughter, sister, wife, aunt - even though I could do better
  • I believe in God and go to church each week and try to live a good, honest life
  • Although I'm not as smart as I used to be, I think I do okay (I try to live by my dad's "Use it or lose it" manifesto!)
  • I care
  • I am a loving mom
  • I'm a good friend
  • I have really strong opinions

I started to do the "good" list and I had trouble; I'm not big on tooting my own horn. But I do know that although I'm far from perfect, I'm not going to H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEYSTICKS, either. I am a good person, with a big heart, and I would do almost anything for my family and friends (I draw the line at anything illegal!). But perfect? Huh-uh. Not so much.

And that's OKAY.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

My, my, my, it HAS been a while...

You know something? I'm really not that busy. I really don't do all that much except for work and sleep. Here, I'll prove it -

A Week in My Life

Saturday - Up at 6:30am, showered, to WW at 8am (down .6 lbs - better than UP!), then to breakfast with mom and Jack, home to meet E to get our summer pedicure, then to the mall. I bought a pair of sandals, a purple dress, and a grey skirt. I need tops for the skirt. We had lunch at the Olive Garden. I went home around 4:30, popped on over to Shop Rite, made dinner, and we watched some TV and went to bed.
Sunday - Up at 7am, to church for 8am mass, breakfast with mom and Jack and T, home to shower (yes, I went to church without showering), then to C's so Jack could help J put the new floor in their spare room. C and I met P at the mall, they returned some clothes and bought some new ones, and we went to lunch at Ruby Tuesday's. I had Southwestern Quesadillas and an unsweetened iced tea or two. Then we went to P's house, T&K came over, G was there and BOY, does he know JUST which buttons to push to annoy his sisters! Then Jack picked me up and we went home, ate some dinner, did some computer work for the After-School Kindergarten graduation, watched some TV, and went to bed.
Monday - Got up at 5:50am, showered, went to work. Worked all day. Drove in since I had a follow up appointment with Dr. V. for my (dental) implant. (Lord knows I don't need any other kind!) Picked mom up on the way, intending to drop her at the Caldwell Shop Rite so she could shop while I was at the doctor. But nothing goes as planned; there was road construction all over Bloomfield Avenue and I was a few minutes late for the appointment so mom came with me and we both went to Shop Rite afterwards. Dropped mom home, went home, picked up Jack and we went to Subway for a sandwich, then to P's for dessert. We took a ride with P&B to see a Corvette he's thinking of buying; it was already sold so he looked at another that was $15K more and liked that one better. Home to watch some TV then we went to bed.
Tuesday - Got up at 5:50am, showered, went to work. Worked all day. Went home, made dinner, ate dinner, picked up mom, went to Amazing Savings; Jack bought me some highlighters and some scrapping paper. Took mom home, thinking we were going to Barnes & Noble, but we went home, watched some TV, and went to bed.
Wednesday - Got up at 5:50am, showered, went to work. Working all day. Called to reschedule Jack's dentist appointment 'cause he got called for jury duty that same day. Will be going home to make dinner, eat dinner, watch some TV and go to bed.
Thursday - More of the same to come.
Friday - More of the same to come, but we will be visiting C's new house; Friday is slated to be their closing day. Will probably bring some cartons over and try to help her unpack a little, if they're ready for that...

So why is it, exactly, that I don't seem to have enough time to look at my calendar, realize that today is my colleague's b'day, start working on the little favors I volunteered to make for A's graduation party - my baby niece is graduating from high school in two weeks! No, she's not still a baby, but she'll always be a baby in my heart!

Well, off to get some lunch, then I'll be back to catch up on my Google Reader, Facebook, and Twitter sites... Oh, yea, THAT'S why I have no free time - it's YOUR fault, me trying to squeeze in all those feeds, those Tweets, those FB posts... Stop it, will ya? Stop being so darned interesting!

(Please insert "went online for a few hours" into each day above.)