25 April 2011

Sober Thoughts

Heel against toe.
The line is straight and I am walking.
A drop.  "Just one," you say.  Poison to my heart.
The line blurs.  You become confused...
          ...have fallen...
                    ...and I am walking...alone...without you.
Heel to toe.  Moving on.  Alone.

Three years ago today I lost someone I loved ~ someone I love.  His demons took him away from me.  Too soon.  Far too soon.

  In the introduction to A Walk with the Serenity Prayer, by Drs. Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, David Congo, and Ms. Janet Congo, it says this:  All of us suffer from time to time as we sojourn through life.  Some of us honestly admit it, serenely accept inevitable pain, courageously change unnecessary pain, and humbly ask God for wisdom to know the difference.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I lived on rum, I tell you. It's been meat and drink, and man and wife, to me. ~Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

Wine hath drowned more men than the sea. ~Thomas Fullerton

Drugs or overeating or alcohol or sex, it was all just another way to find peace. To escape what we know. Our education. Our bite of the apple.  
~Chuck Palahniuk, Choke

As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval. Momentarily we did  -- then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen -- Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair.  ~ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, The Big Book

 Letting go of blame + Learning to forgive   = Being set free   

I still miss you.  xo, ~S.           

21 April 2011


"I want that one," she said.  "The pink one with beans."  Given the description, you'd never guess my little one was selecting a donut.  I love Easter time, when bakery offerings are adorned with the colors of happiness...and sometimes even jelly beans. I almost regretted not purchasing one for myself (*sigh*) but, alas, my willpower won the battle...today. 

“You can tell a lot about a fellow's character by his way of eating jelly beans.” ~Ronald Reagan

I found this recipe at Meridian Road and am anxious to give it a try in the next few days.  It might just be the 'fix' for the current boredom that has settled under my low-carb umbrella.  I've tripled the recipe as provided in order to have plenty in the fridge!

Chicken and Parmesan Sandwich Spread

3 cups cooked chicken, chopped very fine
3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 tsp. yellow mustard
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper (I think I'll opt for more. Much more.)
3 Tbsp. chili sauce (I intend to use Buffalo sauce here!)
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise

Stir to combine all ingredients.  Enjoy!

Remember, the lower the fat content, the higher the carbs. 

Enjoy, ~S.

20 April 2011


I am guilty.  I very often spend too much time dwelling in the past.  That is something I strongly dislike about myself.  Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ~Norman Cousins  Over the past couple of years I have slowly come to an acceptance and settled on a decision. These words help with the explanation.

Would you keep a chive on your tooth just because you enjoyed last night's potato?  
~From the television showBoston Common

We seem to be going through a period of nostalgia, and everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today.  I don't think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great.  If you're hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time.  ~Art Buchwald

Someone once said that the past is a good place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.  Wise sentiments.  But as a writer, I'm not willing to let go.  Instead, I've decided to drag the past along with me, using it as an entrepot for my stories.  There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.  ~Ernest Hemingway

en·tre·pôt   (ŏn'trə-pō'
French, from entreposer, to store : entre, in, among 
(from Latin inter-; see inter-) + poser, to place 

A pleasant piece of the past reemerged last night.  I had the good fortune of visiting with my kindergarten teacher at a local restaurant.  She still has the same smiling eyes.  I am no longer the five year-old with big blue eyes and long brown hair, the little one who even then talked a bit too much.  I've grown up a lot.  She hugged me and told me how proud she is of me.  Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be. ~Karen Ravn  There is something so comforting about a grandmotherly hug to reassure you how very much you matter.  Thank you, Mrs. Jones.  And speaking of grandmotherly, Mrs. P. came to visit the classroom today.  It is Wednesday and we are a part of her regular mid-week routine.  She visits two first grade classrooms each week and reads with the students.  Last week she celebrated her 82nd birthday.  She decorated approximately 5 dozen cupcakes for her first grade friends.  Today in my mailbox, there was a glittery thank-you note which read:  

Dear Mrs. G and First Grade~ 
Thank you for making my birthday so special.  I loved all of your cards!  
See you next week, Mrs. P.

When she appeared today, she was carrying a bucket of these.  Happy Easter to you as well, Mrs. P!  

Easter Bunny
~complete with jelly bean eyes and licorice whiskers~

I hope, I hope, I hope that someday, when I am in the winter of my life, I will remember my students...hug them...tell them I am still proud of them...and I hope I will remember to write thank you notes (glittery ones, of course), and be so inclined to bring happiness to others ~ by sharing a story, a smile, or a treat sweetly decorated by a loving hand.  Whatever you are, be a good one.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Tonight's agenda:

  • Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for my dear childhood friends' shops.  I love you Jami Tberry and Shannon.  Congrats on a stunning shop.  Fabulous!
  • Youth Gruop at church for Kid 2 and Kid 3.
  • Laundry, or maybe not.
  • A no-carb dinner.  Seriously, I am getting bored.
  • To remember:  Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.  ~George Bernard Shaw

As I look ahead, I think I'm in the mood for a masterpiece.  ~S

18 April 2011


lyrics by Marie Digby

What I can remember
Is a lot like water
Trickling down a page
Of the most beautiful colors
I can't quite put my finger down
On the moment that I became like this
You see, I'm the bravest girl
You'll ever come to meet
Yet, I shrink down to nothing
At the thought of someone really seeing me
I think my heart is wrapped around
And tangled up in winding weeds
But, I don't wanna go on living
Being so afraid of showing
Someone else my imperfections
And even though my feet are trembling
Every word I say comes stumbling
I will bare it all
Watch me unfold
Unfold, unfold

These hands that I hold behind my back
Are bound and broken from my own doing
And I can't feel anything anymore
I need a touch to remind me
I'm still real
'Cause, I don't wanna go on living
Being so afraid of showing
Someone else my imperfections
And even though my feet are trembling
Every word I say comes stumbling

I will bare it all
Watch me unfold
Unfold, unfold

My soul
It's dying to be free
I can't live the rest of my life so guarded
It's dying to be free
It's up to me to choose
What kind of life I lead

'Cause, I don't wanna go on living
Being so afraid of showing
Someone else my imperfections
And even though my feet are trembling
Every word I say comes stumbling
I will bare it all
Watch me unfold, unfold, unfold
Unfold, unfold, unfold
I will allow someone to love me

Perhaps I've posted these words before.  It doesn't matter.  They are important to me once again.  And that is enough commentary on that.

The next month is incredibly busy and while I enjoy time to relax, I also thrive on packed agendas.  There is Easter, followed by a weekend of soccer tournaments, followed by a weekend of doctoral orientation, followed by a weekend of, well, I know for sure this one will involve a bookstore! Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?  ~Henry Ward Beecher  Those in-between-the-weekend times will be dotted with  soccer practices, 3 x 3 games, church youth group, laundry, more endless loads of laundry, followed by laundry.  Ugh.

Nothing quite fuels my thoughts {my travels} like really good books.  Too, they encourage my creativity.  I was once told that if you desire to write well, you must first read. Certainly an apt consideration.  I came across this quote by Gordon Getty, one of America's wealthiest men and a noteworthy composer.  It is apparent that the bookstore...the pages found therein...inspire him as well.  I was in Paris at an English-language bookstore. I picked up a volume of Dickinson's poetry. I came back to my hotel, read 2,000 of her poems and immediately began composing in my head. I wrote down the melodies even before I got to a piano.

There are other things to make me smile:

  • My students, ages 6 and 7, loudly singing along to classic James Taylor hits in the classroom.  Lovely.
  • Laptop shopping.  If only I could make a decision!
  • This Greta Kisslock purse, soon to be mine.
  • A one-week, 8-pound weightloss on the scale.
  • Seeing my daughter's summer travel itinerary...Abu Dhabi, Rome, Amsterdam.  *sigh*
  • The impending storm.  It brings out the best in me.  xoxo

Happy Monday! ~ S. 

11 April 2011


"To achieve your goals & remain successful, you must be willing to step over the line & fully commit to change." Tosca Reno

When you have daughters, the examples you set are everything.  The bad ones (examples, that is) unfortunately seem to be the ones most oft remembered. I'm skipping over those.   I don't want the reminders, and my daughters haven't forgotten them anyway.  Needless to say, I'm focusing on a few of the things I've done right...

Last weekend I again found myself in St. Louis.  This time the occasion was Daughter #1's induction into an honor society at the university.  She is [almost] perfect [so says her mother] and I am very proud of her. She embodies a maturity and loveliness of spirit that is inspiring.  Daughter #3 and I then spent the afternoon with Daughter #1 and her boyfriend.  Forest Park was the perfect setting for an early dinner, conversation, and dreams of paddle boats while feeding the ducks. 

Daughter #2 stayed behind to hunt with her dad during Youth Turkey Season.  I find it funny that my fashion-designer-wannabe-who-dreams-of-Paris is rather proficient with a shotgun.  Her first bird:  26 pounds with a 10-inch beard.  What a way to start! That's a BIG bird!

And earlier this week, Daughter #3 was registered for Kindergarten.  My baby is not such a baby anymore.  And while I will happily enjoy the hundreds upon hundreds of dollars (multiply that by 7) that won't be paid to preschool each month, I'm left wondering where the last five years have gone.  It is true ~ time certainly passes quickly when you are having fun.

Speaking of which, surely it was just yesterday that Daughter #1 knocked out her front tooth during her first week of Kindergarten.  Yet suddenly the anticipation grows as our family prepares to meet his family...the boyfriend whose family will take her overseas this summer.  Three weeks to be spent between Abu Dhabi and Rome.  Let curiosity be  your magnifying glass, McKenzie, and the world, your experiment. "The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn." ~John Lubbock

As for me, I'm preparing for a summer vacation that will extend for years and involve textbooks.  And research.  And writing.  That's the example I want to set for my daughters ~ never to grow stagnant.  To grab the world, however you meet it, by the hands...and run.

The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom.
~Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) 

I love you, sweet girls.  Always.

07 April 2011

Childish Days

She's quite a character, my little one.  Last week she earned her second set of stitches.  Twelve.  That's nine more than the last time.  When she cried because she didn't look beautiful with whiskers on her chin, I reminded her that only tough girls endure these things...that she is indeed tougher than her mother, because I am still awaiting my first set.  Monday night we returned to the Emergency Room for removal of those whiskers. The plastic surgeon inspected the injury, confirmed the stitches should be removed now versus later (to prevent a 'railroad track' scar), but insisted that the skin would remain quite fragile for another week.  Lovely.  Let's hope her chin heals super, super quickly.

As if that didn't provide enough excitement for the start of the week, Lane decided to paint her own nails.  (I fell asleep first.  That's when she moved the kitchen chair over to the cabinet and grabbed the forbidden fruit.)  According to her version of the story, she 'messed up' and tried to fix the mistakes by washing her hands and feet.  (No, Lane.  It doesn't work that way.)  Needless to say, she had bright fuchsia polish smeared everywhere.  I made this discovery just minutes before leaving the house for work the next morning, and so...  Carrying a bottle of nail polish remover along, I greeted the preschool teacher.  Our conversation began something like this.  "I realize this isn't in your job description, but I suppose whether or not her hands and legs and feet remain looking this way, is dependent upon how embarrassed you are to take her out in public for the field trip."  Her teacher loves me, or loves Lane, or was embarrassed by my daughter's appearance.  When I retrieved her at 5:00, she looked rather tidy.  Thank you, Miss Susan.

Beyond that, the week has been busy and as a result, I've fallen behind on nearly everything I've needed to accomplish.  This has left me feeling a bit blue.  (The weather today isn't helping either.)  I did find this in my classroom, though, and it made me smile.  It is a note from a sweet student, my first grader who is now in middle school:

Dear Mrs. G,

I want to be a teacher.  Yeah, that's right.  A teacher.  If I learn more, I'm smart.  Then I go on and on and on until I know everything.  You are very nice and I love first grade.  In fact, I want to stay here forever.  You are the best teacher a child could have.

Love, Alec

I knew I saved that note for a reason: that I'd find it again someday at just the right moment...and be happy.

01 April 2011


Sometimes the weekend is an epilogue to my week.  
Sometimes, the opposite is true. 

My middle-daughter-soccer-player-fashionista and I headed to St. Louis last weekend for league games that were eventually canceled due to ~ what else? ~ snow, of course.  This is the Midwest.  Among other things, we're known for having weather that doesn't necessarily make much sense.  Such was the case on Saturday.  We were halfway to our destination when Mother Nature decided we'd better stay indoors and not play soccer, but the possibility for two games on Sunday was still strong.  Because my King Suite had been reserved at an unbelievable price (aka, a steal), I opted to press onward.  Besides, it would have cost more in gas to return home and then journey to St. Louis yet again the following day.  Ally and I decided to head to The Hill for Italian, one of our favorite old neighborhoods in the area.  It was worth the 40 mph drive on eastbound Interstate 70 via treacherous roadways. 

The Hill, Part I

Missouri Baking Company, The Purchases:

  • Ravioli, my favorite sugared shortbread cookie with pecans.  Three dozen.  Heaven.
  • Strawberry Tarts
  • Pecan Sticky Buns
  • 2 Aprons ~ one for me, one for Suzy (whose grandparents used to live nearby many, many years ago)

The Hill, Part II

Rigazzi's, The Fare:
  • a Small Cheese Pizza for the kiddo, with a Fudgesicle for dessert
  • Chicken Picante...red sauce with white wine, mushrooms and a hint of bacon ~ Delizioso!

There is something familiar about this neighborhood.  I have no Italian heritage, yet the area reminds me of my grandparents, of a time when neighbors knew each other's names.  It feels like home.

My evening was spent reading, shopping with Ally The Fashion Plate, and watching her swim.  For the first night in a long time I slept well...and late...and then enjoyed my favorite breakfast:  Biscuits and Gravy.  And as if I hadn't spent enough money shopping the evening before, I was confident of this fact by Sunday afternoon.  Ally and I met up with my other two daughters...one returning to college and saying farewell to Spring Break, and the other just along for the ride.  Happiness.  Here's hoping this weekend is just as fine.

Things That Recently Made Me Smile:

A sign in a shop that read: 

Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.

This quote:

"Then we sat on the edge of the earth with our feet dangling over the side, and marveled that we had found each other."
~Erik Dillard

A closing bookstore (sad) sale (glad):

I came away with two Faulkners, a Willa Cather and a Welty.  Classic titles for my evergrowing library.  
Insert 'smile' here.

This blog:  

(It's written in German and much is lost during translation, but the photos are so inspiring.)

...and so my week was a mere footnote to a pretty stellar weekend.  I hope this next one proceeds accordingly.