Monday, December 10, 2012

My Christmas Story Experience!

Do you remember the very first time you ever watched A Christmas Story? I do! Funny, I don't recall the year but I can remember the details of the exact night. The movie came out around 1983, when I was 9 years old. I'm not exactly sure when TBS started running it on repeat for 24 hours but that is where I first saw it.

I remember it being close to Christmas, I was probably about 13 or 14 years old.  I fell asleep on the couch, early in the evening. When I woke up, everyone else was already in bed for the night. I turned on the cable tv and somehow ran across this movie. It looked Christmasy to me so I settled on it. Well I quickly realized that......this movie was amazing! What in the world was I watching? Where did it come from? Why had I never seen it before? The kid looks just like my Dad when HE was a kid!! My mind quickly got lost  in the movie. My eyes were glued to the tv set and I was filled with such happiness!

When it was over I felt a huge let down. Not because the movie was bad, but because I didn't want it to end. A few minutes passed and I hear some cheery music. I look at the screen and there it was again, in all it's glory! I didn't know why, or how and I didn't care!

What did I do next? I'll tell you what I did next. I went into the kichen and heated me up 4 chocolate Pop Tarts and poured myself a big glass of milk. I sat right back down on my cozy couch, ate my chocolatey snack and watched this beloved movie until I fell asleep.

I tell you, it doesn't seem like a big deal, this memory. But to me, it is SUCH a big deal for so many reasons, especially since now it is a family tradition. And don't get me started on the Pop Tarts! To this very day no matter what month it is, even in the summer, when I eat a choclate Pop Tart, I always think of A Christmas Story

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An Underoos Christmas

Christmas memories from my childhood bring me so much joy! Growing up in the 70's and 80's meant I had first dibs on some of the best toys ever invented, the funnest catalogs to browse, the coolest Christmas ornaments and the best Christmas displays around.

Here I am getting my very first Strawberry Shortcake doll for Christmas! This was probably right around 1980 to be exact. This was a FABULOUS Christmas. I was at my Dad's house for my bi weekly visit. My brother was there too. That is my loving Grandma behind me there in the photo. This Christmas not only did I get my wonderfully scented Strawberry Shortcake doll, I also got my first, and only, set of Underoos! I had Wonder Woman and I remember jumping up and down with excitement to get them! I tried them on immediately and thought I was the bomb diggity. You can see from the next photo that my big brother also got something quite trendy and very 80's....a Stretch Armstrong! And here he is playing tug o war with my Stepmom.

Another wonderful Christmas was not long after this one. This one was at my Mom's house. We went to bed on Christmas Eve and couldn't wait to wake up and run down the stairs to find our presents! The same stairs mind you, that my brother tumbled down once after watching the movie Jaws! We watched that movie and he went upstairs to go to bed and saw where my Mom had placed her mannequin head on the bannister ledge. It scared the wits out of him and after a shriek he went tumbling down!! Good times....Anyway, this year we ran down those stairs to our tree and to dig into our Snoopy stockings and before my wondering eyes did appear.....A Barbie dream Winnebago! Oh my this was the gem of all gems. It had a shower, a kitchen, bedroom you name it it was pimped out!

By the time I lived with my Dad full time, the 80's were in full swing! Our local mall was called Antioch Shopping Center. I would grow up having many lifelong memories from that mall. I went there regularly my whole childhood. Shopping, bowling and as a teen and young twenty, I had jobs there! I loved Morrow's nut house, it had the best macadamia and cashew nuts! This is also the mall I told you about in an earler blog where I attended the Hubba Bubba bubble blowing contest! But the best time to go to Antioch mall....was at CHRISTMAS!! I'm telling you it was old school magic! The winter wonderland was a looooong stretch of glistening white. White snow, white reindeer, white railing and white plastic chain link to keep you out of the magical area. It had giant presents with bows and then of course Santa's seat. It was such a wonderful place to be. I sure wish I had a photo to share with you but my 110 camera was probably out of film at the time ;)

In closing I would be doing you a major disservice if I did not describe to you THE most magical place to be during Christmas and that was at Penguin Park. The park I grew up going to my whole life. The park with the giant penguin, elephant, giraffe, wobbly bridge, fire had it all. And at Christmas it was transformed literally into a winter wonderland! Everything was lit up with Christmas lights, giant presents were added, Santa's workshop appeared and my favorite thing of all, there was a giant Santa hat atop the mighty Penguin's head!

Now I realize I am very  blessed to have such wonderful memories of Christmas. I know so many who do without. That makes my memories even more treasured to me. But please understand the reason I place so much value on my memories is because I also had a lot of sadness in my childhood. So these magical moments in time made it all worth while!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Hi, my name is Amy and I'm a horrible Christian

When people say to me, "You are such a good person".....I flinch. I'm like, me? Have we met? It makes me happy in some ways of course because in my mind I feel like, ok at least I'm nice to people. Well usually.

Let me clarify, I do find myself to be very happy and pleasant and above all fiercely loyal to my friends and loved ones.  But when it comes to people I don't see eye to eye with, I can  honestly say that as a Christian, I fail miserably.

Although I am very kind hearted and happy, that is only one part of the complex me. I am also very angry and confused. I am hell bent on seeking justice (not revenge) for people who can't defend themseleves but while I'm doing that I leave a path of unkind words along the way to anyone who does not want to help me in my crusade.

As a Christian that is but one way I am failing. There are 2 other departments that I fall short in:
I do NOT love my enemies.
I DO judge others.

I justify these things in my own mind too when I'm doing it. For example I tell people to quit judging others. Yet I do it all the time and I justify it  by telling myself  that the people I judge actually deserve it! Of course, I am wrong.  I tell people not to judge others and what I really mean is, don't judge gay people. Don't judge poor people. Don't judge ME.  Meanwhile I judge rich people. I judge people who drive expensive cars, wear expensive clothes, live in giant houses.  I am totally wrong in doing so.

Second part where I fall miserably short, I have yet been able to master the art of loving my enemies. I don't even pretend to love them. What's worse is I don't even make an effort to love them.

You may be asking yourself why would I possibly write these words, outing my own shortcomings?
It's for that reason exactly. I need everyone to know that I am failing as a Christian but I want to be better. If I walked around this earth saying I'm a good Christian, I know what I'm doing, I am not wrong.....Well that would be a major disservice to God, my King.

Although I know I will not change my behaviors overnight, I WILL work on them. I will continue my growth as a Christian and be faithful always wanting to learn more. To be better. By learning to selflessly serve humankind, I will be serving God. It will be hard for me to do this!!

I tell myself everyday "As good as you think you ain't"

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Haunted Housing!

My first Haunted House experience was bone a good way! I think the feeling of fear and first time type flutters were better than the haunted house itself. I can remember exactly how I felt.

I was around 10 or 11, somewhere around 4th or 5th grade I suppose. I had been wanting to go to a haunted house for a while so my Dad took my friend Tami and me. It was in downtown Kansas City, Mo and was called......
The Edge of Hell.

I remember standing in line outside that evening. It was crisp fall weather which has always given me a feeling of being anxious. A happy anxious though.  When you have  that feeling of wanting to laugh  from your stomach, yet nothing is funny.  Some type of exhilaration occurs alongside anticipation. For me anyway. Standing in line, the fear and excitement grew the closer we got to the entrance. But there were sights to be seen outside too.  The haunted house employees were also outside getting people pumped up. Some in costumes, carrying rats even.

So we get to the entrance. You step in and it's like a haunted mansion, all cobwebby, walls painted black and everything is dimly lit. The cashier is in a gothic looking costume.  Next you find yourself going up a flight of stairs. Everything is still painted black and there is now black-lights leading the way. Almost a chalky substance swirling around the chilling air with organ music. Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Bach to be precise!

Once up the stairs, the haunting begins! Scary things happen for what seems like forever. Some places are so dark that you can't even see your hand in front of your face. This was the funnest thing I'd ever done!! (I was a bit of a freakazoid as a kid)

Finally you reach light. You start to see white, everywhere and you realize it's suppose to be Heaven. It's a peaceful moment in this house of horrors but it doesn't last long! Next thing you know you find yourself at the top of a slide.

Wait, what?! Yes a slide. You don't realize it but you have just climbed the entire height of this enormous old building that is several stories high!  I tell you, I was manic at this point, the slide scared me worse than anything so far. But I did it. I got on it and woooosh! Down I went, spiraling what felt like straight down and it is pitch black! Finally I saw some light and felt relief. Phew, I thought, that was rough! Oh but alas, it was not over yet....Standing at the bottom waiting for you, taunting you is the red man carrying a pitchfork. When I reached the end of the slide, I was there on the floor, frozen with terror of this maniac yelling at me to GET OUT!!! He was prodding me with his pitchfork but I couldn't move....He finally showed mercy and helped me up and then continued yelling at me to leave!

WOW, it was over.

I made my way into the waiting area where I met up with my friend and my Dad. At first I think I might have been speechless. But did this madhouse scare me away? Nope. I think I looked at my Dad and said.... "Let's go again!"

Of course it's not like a roller coaster,  you don't just go back in line to do it again. No, you savor every memory of the experience. You smile ear to ear and talk about it the whole car ride home. Then you can't wait for next Halloween so you can go get the wits scared out of you all over again.  All in the name of FUN!

I wish you could see how big I am smiling right this second at just the thought of my very first Haunted House experience :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wake Up Call

When I first became a mother,  I had nooooo idea how different my life would be. Of course it made my life better, richer, fuller.  But that's not the part I'm writing about today. There is also a very difficult side to motherhood. But thanks to a very old lady (sorry to use that term but I love old ladies!!) my whole perspective on motherhood CHANGED FOREVER!

So I'm not going to go into the details of my early motherhood days. Your first newborn baby is undescribable anyway, so I'll just get to the point.

One day I packed up the stroller, the diaper bag, the pack and play, the emergency kit, the binky and all the bottles I needed for a single outing to my local used bookstore. It was a rough morning getting out the door but I made it to the bookstore.  While in the store I couldn't pick out books, I was busy caring for my infant who wouldn't stop crying. I tried the pacifier, didn't work. Bottle, didn't work.
So finally I grabbed a few vintage cookbooks and headed to the checkout desk where there sat the sweetest looking little old lady.

I wanted to talk to her, learn her wisdom. Let her comfort me in my struggles of mother hood.  I began to tell her how hard it was to be a new Mom. How fussy my baby was and I couldn't just come and go as I pleased any more. How I had nobdoy to help me. My family all lived in another state. I was struggling.  I waited for her response. I needed some kind and inspiring words from a sweet person who has been through it herself.
After listening to me patiently, she spoke. She said 2 words to me that I'll never forget. She said ..........."You'll live!"

At first I thought...what the?! Then it hit a ton of bricks. I was a dip. I mean, here I was a modern mother. Caring for my baby in a modern home with electric appliances, indoor heating and plumbing. Fresh running water. Cable TV! Movies, Dvd's. Modern bottles and formula that were simple to prepare. Modern vehicle and most of all, a husband who works hard to support his family!

I tell you, from that moment on my life CHANGED and a new obsession was born in me. That obsession was learning how women before me did it. I went to the library and checked out every book I could on pioneer women and homesteads. Then books about the homelife during the Great Depression. Then the 50-'s through 70's...You name it I wanted to learn how they did it. How my Grandmothers raised a family with so much less than I had. They literally could not come and go as they pleased. I was not as tied down as I thought I was, especially compared to women of the past.

It has been years now since I began collecting my vintage cookbooks. I no longer collect them simply to collect. I collect them because I want to know how the women before me cared for their families with usually so little. I'm obsessed with learning the daily lives of women in history.

To me, all the women before me are pioneers!

Friday, October 12, 2012

They Meet

When I graduated highschool, college was not in my future. My Dad never pushed me to go to college and that is a good thing. He did, however, always tell me "You don't have to go to college, but you have to do something!" And something is just what I did. I went straight from highschool into cosmetology school.

I loved being a hairdresser! It fit my lifestyle perfectly. I was the wild hairdressing, party animal.
But I was also stuck in a bad relationship.

I am not putting him down, I was there too after all. I just mean, we were not meant to be so, of course, we did not fit well together. But when you are young, you don't realize how much better the future can be. So I stayed and we tolerated each other's bad behavior for a few years. Looking back, it seems like such a waste of time. But I know now that God has perfect timing. I was there for a reason, whether I knew it or not.

By the time I turned 21, my head was spinning from this relationship. I'm sure his was too as I was no prize. But I was also feeling strong and I was growing up. I didn't know how to walk away from him, so I didn't walk away from him.... I MOVED away from him. Seems drastic but that is what I needed. It turned out, it wasn't him I was running from, it was my husband that I was running to! I did not know it yet, but every step I took was leading me to my one true love.

Back to the story....

So I did it. I packed up all my things, said some tearful, yet excited goodbyes to my family and I was  out of there. Never looked back. (Except once and it led me to my husband!) It was only an hour away but that was all I needed to start my new life.  I stayed with my Stepsister's family for a few months. We are no longer Stepsisters, our parent's marriage did not last and I don't even speak to her anymore. Yet she is a key player in my success story! She encouraged me to move in with her to get out on my own.

While there, I quit doing hair and started working in a cup factory, of all places. I went from having a FUN hairdressing job, to working 12 hour shifts at night, in a factory.  And I was happy to do it. This new freedom was amazing to me!

After a few months, I got my own apartment and met a guy at my work who would become my boyfriend for about a year. His mother happened to work in a town 20 minutes  away as a medical records director in a hospital. I quit working at the factory and she hired me in the medical records department. Well guess what? Her son and I broke up! But for some reason, it wasn't so bad and I continued to work for her and we are still friends, even now.

Next thing I know I have a friend who works upstairs in the ER who is also an EMT. She says to me "Hey did you see the flyer? EMT class is starting soon at the fire department".... I said, uh  no, I'm not smart enough, I could never be an EMT. The thought never even crossed my mind!
Well, guess who started EMT school a few short months later? Yep, me. And guess who had a BLAST in EMT school? Me. Guess who did really, really well in EMT school? Again...Me.

So here I am out on my own, away from the town that was dragging me down. I'm in EMT school now, living in a college/air force town. Making new, lifelong friends, left and right. Partying my butt off, having a blast!

I became an EMT, began working on an ambulance while still working full time at my medical records job. Life was so good!

A few years passed. I'm sitting on the front porch of my townhouse with my roomates drinking a 40 and smoking a cig. Out of nowhere...and I mean NOWHERE...I say "I'm moving back to KC."
They were stunned and frankly, so was I. I had no idea why. None. I only knew, it was time. Time for me to go back. Why?? I would soon find out!

So less than 2 months later, I'm back in my hometown. Got a job, working nights in an ER. Living in my own apartment that had a pool and was just awesome! Yes, I was back in the town that held many good memories but many, many bad ones too. But something was different. I was different. I was stronger. I could face the ones who hurt me and the ones who I hurt. I was not the same person and never would be again.

So I moved back in January of 2000. And who would I meet in July of 2000? My husband.  The odds of this are so very slim, you realize.  You have no idea how close we could have just walked right by each other and never spoke. But the stars lined up in my life and his. It was very unlikely because, I was back living in this town after being gone several years. He was only there working on a job. He was from a completely different state!

I became very close friends with a girl in the ER. We went out to see a band at a bar that I barely ever went to.  The band was called Blue October. They have had several hits now, but back then, not so much.  I see my now husband standing across the room. I watched him for a few HOURS! We only had about a 5 minute conversation that night. I gave him my phone  number and he could have lost it, but he didn't.  We could have just walked right by each other and never looked back. But we didn't.

From that 5 minute conversation came a life of love, laughter and peace. I am amazed every day by our story.
So you see, every heartache along the way. Every bad decision, every good decision. Every person who was in my life, but no longer is was there for a purpose. It  was all pointing me exactly where I needed to go!

I did not find him. He did not find me.
God lined up our paths and I am so glad I followed that path.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Renaissaince Festival...of LOVE

One of my favorite things to do when I was growing up, was going to the Renaissance Festival.
We went every October. Rain or shine. The weather was always brilliant, even if it was rainy. I have seen some other festivals that seemed quite generic. The one I always went to, was in Bonner Springs, Ks.  Nothing compares to it. The grounds were MAGNIFICENT and I am not just indulging you. It is heavily wooded. Dotted with all the little shops and food areas. Beautiful trees, excellent scenery!

Where to begin?! Well let's start at the beginning. You park your car in a huge field. There is nothing in sight except a giant outdoor amphitheater right next door but it blends right in the parking lot. You begin to walk up to the entrance and you start to see all the trees in beautiful Autumn color. The outside entrance is very peasanty and rustic.

Once inside the wooden gates, you are immediately taken back to a different time. Each person was dressed in mediavel garb. From peasant clothing all the way to detailed royalty clothing in deep, rich colors. And back in the 80's, every single employee spoke in an English accent, even the food workers were dressed appropriate of the time and spoke in this accent.

As you walk around, you smell the woods, incents burning and nature all around you. Go in a little further and you will be greeted with the smell of turkey legs, hearty soups served in bread bowls or my all time favorite...Pizza on a stick! For dessert I always got to have an Orange Ice, which is an orange sliced in half with this orange flavored icee/sherbert type thing but it wasn't typical. I could not put my finger on the texture, it was like nothing else!

Most of the shops were nestled among the trees. Lined up in little nooks.  They were full of artisans who made their very own goods. Leather wear, giant walking sticks, windsocks, incents, candles. All kinds of things! My Dad always bought me a wreath made of ribbons to wear on my head.

Of course my favorite part was always the face painting, games and elephant rides! I loved getting my face painted and one year I saw the art teacher from my elementary school! I was so excited to see her there. It's always neat to see teachers in the real world. But since I saw her THERE, I thought she was cooler than ever! One of the games I always did was jousting. You got on this toy horse that was suspended by two ropes. Then they handed you your very own jousting stick. They would pull and pull and lift you into the air! They let go and you went flying down and you had to hit the target with your stick and get the ring off the little gadget. I never won!! There was also log rolling and one game where you sat on a giant log and tried to knock your opponent off with a burlap sack!

Toward the middle of the day, we always got to watch the real jousting. Time to take a load off in the stands and watch the giant horses race back and forth with the men in their suits of armour.

If you needed to use the restroom, even that was outdoors and whimsical. Not at all like any other outdoor event. Every area of this place was in character! The outhouses were wooden and were called Privies.

As the day would wind down, the air would get cooler. The smells were even deeper and your sense of peace was at an all time high. There was always a parade at the end of the day. You would wait over by the wooden exit gates. While waiting, children could wrap ribbons around a tall pole, it was very  beautiful. Once you heard the parade coming, you were silent! Eyes glued to every person walking by! There were the peasants, the court jesters, the children acrobats and finally the King and Queen. All were dressed of the time. They were singing, dancing and laughing loudly.

Walking to the car, you knew....the day was over. It would be a whole year before going back. Many times we were with my Dad's friends. I remember them so well and they too loved the experience. I went every year as a child. And even into my 20's! When I grew up and moved away, I missed it for the first time. As the years went by, I missed a few more. But then when I met my husband I insisted on taking him! He had  never been to one. And even if he had, it would not compare to this one.
He had a wonderful time, and so did I. But I don't think words can express just how good a time I actually had! It had been several years since I'd been to this magical place. This place so dear to my heart since childhood. Now, to experience it with a brand new love in my life was just.....
A festival of love.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin Carving Party

When I was growing up, there were lots of parties in my house. Summer parties, Saturday Night Live parties, Monday Night Football parties, Christmas parties, family reunions. Birthday parties. Parties just to get wild and crazy. You name it, we celebrated it.
But my favorite party of all was my Dad's famous pumpkin carving parties every October.

He loved to make the house smell like pumpkins and apple cider. He would make brilliant appetizers to feast on. People could come in and out at their leisure. Eat, drink and carve. The house was always inviting and guests filled each room.

He would get his carve on long before the guests arrived. He made incredible free hand drawings, mostly faces and did a technique where you just carve half way through, not all the way out. I know this is common now days, but back then, not so much. People were in awe of his pumpkins.

His parties started in the 80's and went well into the 90's. My friends always looked forward to going to my Dad's pumpkin party! A good time was had by all.

When I grew up and moved out of the house, he carried on his pumpkin party tradition for a few more years then finally threw in the towel.

But that didn't stop me from carrying on the tradition, no sir! Well for a few years it did. I had a lot of single life living to do. Lots of partying to get out of my system before settling down. But that would all change the moment I met my husband.

We met and fell in love quickly. Well I did anyway. I moved in with him less than a year after meeting him. He lived in another state as me but that didn't stop me. I always tell people that cupid went and bitchslapped my heart! It was about time, really. I was in my late twenties already so I was happy to start settling down.

So the first year we lived together I told him about my Dad's tradition and how much it meant to me. He was on board to carry it on! We decorated our trailer (yes our love nest) from floor to ceiling in Halloween decor. We went all out with some good food. And we invited a whopping 2 people! But they came! And she brought her son, so  bonus.

The mood was set and we carved our pumpkins and had a blast doing it! I still have pictures from our very first pumpkin carving party of our very own.

Each year since, our parties have grown bigger, as has our family. We look forward to it every year and we are now approaching our 12th year.

I want to thank my Daddy so much for this tradition, from the bottom of my heart. I cherish the memories he made for me. And I adore making new ones for my family!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Carnival, 1984

When I think back to the Autumn of 1984, I am met with mixed emotions.
It was a great time in pop culture and I was into all of it! But I was also a 10 year old mess.
There was however, one thing  different. I now lived with my Dad. That is what I needed for so many years.  I didn't know why I needed to live with my Dad, I only knew I did.
Things were better, but still uneasy.
But, something was about to ease my mind, if only for a little while.....the fall carnival at my elementary school!
I remember it  vividly. This was my first year in Kansas City at my new school. It was going ok, I guess. Then fall came along and  everything turned damp, crisp and was bursting with color!
I found the dismal, rainy days to be my favorite! Go figure.
I was very much into Michael Jackson in 1984 so it was only natural for me to wear my black and red parachute pants to the fall carnival at school.
I remember being on the playground with my Stepmom. She was so pretty and loving.
She had her arm around me walking on the blacktop where I spent my recess time playing hopscotch and double dutch.
We did the cake walk together. Bobbed for apples and visited with some of my school friends.
It was a cloudy, crisp fall evening. Perfection.
There were several other games but I mostly remember my time with her on this magical night.
I sometimes wonder if I really love the fall, or does it just so happen that some of the  best times in my life, just happened to BE in the fall?
Either way, I'll take it.
I  miss my Stepmother. I could write a book about my memories of her. She held my heart when nobody else could understand me.
After she and my Dad divorced, I lost track of her for several years.
I saw her now and then and it was always very painful for me. I missed her for so long.
When I had my first child, I began soul searching, as most of us do.
I dug deep into my past. I finally had to face so many things. I had to! I had to learn what NOT to do. I had to find a way to never let my kids feel the pain that I went through.
I realized that my Stepmother treated me like I was her real child. I know this now, from direct experience of being a Mother.
After years of searching, with the help of my Dad, I found her a few years back. I was able to speak to her on the phone and then write her a letter.
I was able to tell her ALL the things I wanted to say. How much I loved her. How many good memories she created for me in my childhood.
I have since lost her again. But that will not stop me from cherishing my memories of her.
Especially the one at my school's Fall Carnival, 1984.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Showbiz Pizza

Have you ever heard of Chuck E. Cheese? Well of course you have!
In just one simple word, I'll describe how I feel about Chuck E. Cheese.....Sad.
Let me explain....
Once upon a time back in the 80's there was a magical place called Showbiz Pizza. The one I went to all through my childhood was in a shopping center called Antioch Mall.
I grew up going there. The shopping, the food court, the bowling alley and my favorite place, Showbiz Pizza.

One of the major differences from Showbiz and Chuck is the anticipation that was available to a kid. Chuck E. Cheese has the game area and an eating area, yes, but in the eating area there is always something happening. Always commotion, never stillness. That giant mouse  is always singing or gabbing. And  that area is always brightly lit.
Showbiz on the other hand had a dim eating area to add mystery to what was going to happen. There were 3 stages for performances.

Stage 1 was the Wolfman who talked in a smoky, husky voice.

Stage 2 you would find the best musical band to ever exist...The Rockafire Explosion!! Band members were: Mitzi Mozzarella on vocals was a mouse dressed as a cheerleader. Beach Bear on guitar. Duke Larue was a dog in a spacesuit who played the drums. And Fatz Geronimo on keyboards was a giant gorilla.

And stage 3. was the loveable Billy Bob bear with a puppet type creature called Lonney Bird.

Back then the shows only ran every so often. So when you were playing your video games and skeeball, you were also constantly looking over to the dining area to see if anything was about to happen. It was anticipation at it's finest!!
Finally, you would hear that curtain open and the action began! It was simply MARVELOUS!

Naturally, when I was in highschool,  I got a job there.  I was uniformed in khaki pants, a red Showbiz shirt and a visor with my gigantic 80's hair climbing out the top of it. I was a hostess/server and even had to sing Happy Birthday to patrons via intercom that the entire place could hear.
I had mad highschool crushes there. Angst, drama, and excitement was all mixed in to that job. It was the funnest job I ever  had.

But one night we were informed that there were about to be some major changes. They were getting rid of all of our beloved characters on that stage to replace them with this giant mouse...Chuck E. Cheese.

Times, they were a changin. And they certainly did.
I was there through the overhaul and it was  heartbreaking to see. Out with the old and in with the new.  It was certainly an end of an era in my life.

I miss those times, but I will never forget the way I felt at Showbiz Pizza... where a kid could really be a kid.

Monday, September 3, 2012

That song just blew my MIND!

We've all been there. That moment when  you hear a song for the very first time, and it leaves you absolutely speechless! You try to explain it to someone...and they just don't get it! You're like "It was all neer neer neer guitars, and waa waa waa vocals and I was just jammin..."
All the while, the person you are trying to get to feel the same emotion as you is just standing there like you have just lost your mind.

Well I don't do that to people, because I understand the euphoria that a song can give a person.
Take for example a moment in time, somewhere around 1990, shared by two people who barely even know each other.

The people were me and a guy named Shawn. I was a sophomore in highschool, he was a senior. We knew each other, but barely.
I was standing out in front of my highschool in the smoking area before school started. I see him walking toward me from the parking lot. Not toward ME necessarily, but the school.
I could see it in his face, though, he was looking for someone. Anyone! Someone he could unleash his pure joy onto!

I see him walking up, wearing a Tshirt and faded Levi's. His hair was blondish brown, kind of feathered on the side, but in a cool, manly way. And suddenly it was me...I was the lucky person he chose to share his music moment with!

He began by telling me that he  had just heard THE most amazing song his ears had ever heard.  There were no words to the song, only instruments. He said he had parked his car in the parking space and just sat there until the song was over and that he didn't want it to end! It was so moving, he said,  it brought tears to his eyes!

That was really the end of our conversation. School began and we never spoke of it again.
But I was on a mission to find out this song. It took me a few years, believe it or not before I even heard it myself.

Are you just dying to know the name of the song?!

Well before I tell you, I want you to know that I cherish these small moments in life. Now more than ever. The element of surprise is slowly fading in our society, where technology robs us of any suspense or waiting. We can type in a single word and discover volumes of information. Instant gratification. No thank you!

It took me two YEARS to figure out this song. I had something to do for two whole years, a mission! It was an amazing journey and when I finally heard the song I said "That HAS to be it!" But even then I did not know the name of the band!! It was all too much, I could barely stand how close I was but still was not sure!

Luckily by that time I was able to ask a friend since the song had been out for so long. I was able to experience the same emotion as Shawn. I got to share with my friend this amazing song I had finally heard but still did not know the name of. And he told me, and it was like "Aahhhhh" Exhale, finally but what an adventure it was!

Such small things in life are what I am after every single day. That feeling of amazement and discovery.

The End......Got ya! The name of the song is Cliffs of Dover by Eric Johnson ....Amazing :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Yesterday found me to be more inspired than I have been in a long time. I am always on the lookout for inspiration. Sometimes, it completely eludes me, sometimes it overwhelms me.

Of course I am inspired daily by my children, but the world usually leaves me feeling down right sick in the stomach. So when I find inspiration in the world, I run with it!

Yesterday began with a simple facebook post. A post in which I declared my position on a certain "hot topic" in the world. I have recently decided to not just be a talker in this life. I want to back up my words with actions. So I took to good old fashioned pen and paper and wrote a short, yet direct letter to my local governement on this issue.

I am positive that whomever it reaches, it will fall on deaf ears and a closed door. Why do I say this? Because I have no faith in politicians. None of them. I do however have faith in the power of consistency. If they reject my ideas I will simply resend my letter. Over and over and over.

I do not feel pride in this letter, I just feel like I finally got off my booty and made a start. Even though nothing was accomplished, it is a start.

Later in the evening it was family movie night. We watched The Lorax. From beginning to end, there is inspiration and lessons. Such as don't be fake. Don't desire fake things. Love REAL things.

The word "Unless" is my  new motto in life. For example, I can't stand it when people say "Well that particular criminal or crime will never change, even if we change the laws" To that I say REALLY?! So just give up, don't even try? No, to that I will say what Dr. Seuss wants me to say which is:
 "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Which leads me to my biggest inspiration of the day....After my family all went to bed, I finally got to watch The Help.

Now most of you know my feelings toward history, the past, etc. You know that I don't live there. I live here and I learn from there. I bring forth the good things in the past and make sure I do not relive the bad things.

But this movie blew the roof off of what so many people actually love about the past. The white women.

People want to look like the 50's housewife. They want to dress like them, be thin like them, decorate their homes like them. But when you think how oppressive so many of these women were to other women, it is beyond words. Not all were this way, of course. But many were, and partly because they too, were very oppressed. A vicious cycle that needed to be broken.

So when I think of the brave ones who stood up in The Lorax and The Help, THOSE are the people I want to look like, want to be like, want to act like. Not the perfect looking people. No thank you!

I want to be  brave enough to truly stand up in the face of wrong even when the whole world is telling me to sit down.

Yesterday, oh sweet yesterday, thank you for your wisdom!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Honey, please DON'T fix my dishwasher.

My dishwasher broke down 2 days ago. I thought, oh boy...dishpan hands ahead. So for the past few days, yes, I have dishpan hands. But something surprising is happening. I am finding myself smiling while washing these dishes. I am taking this time to reflect on wonderful memories without even realizing I'm doing it!

When I'm standing there at the sink, gazing out my sunny windows I am thinking of my Grandmothers and loving every minute of it. I am doing a household duty the way they did it.

Although I usually have a working dishwasher, I still have liquid dish soap on hand for quick clean ups. Of course I stick to the ones my Grandmothers used. The classics.

My maternal Grandma used Palmolive, the beautiful emerald green color. My paternal Grandma used Dawn in ocean blue.

When I use my Palmolive, it transports me directly to my Grandma's kitchen when I was a little girl. She was at that sink more than 3 times per day, cleaning up after all of us. Never once complaining. She had a small, square kitchen in brown and beige. She made wonderful meals for us and for many years I spent 2 weeks of every summer at their lake house. The memories are making me well up with tears this very moment!

My paternal Grandmother was also very  traditional. She was so in style, a magnificent creature she was! She had an eat-in kitchen in the shape of a rectangle. Bright and colorful. Soft blue and white are how I remember her kitchen with one  door leading to the brilliant back  yard,  and one door leading to the basement where she did all her laundry. I remember she had a sponge cleaner to wash dishes. I loved that thing! It was a foamy type thing in the shape of an everlasting gobstopper, right out of Wonka land! It was bright yellow and  on a magic wand! That is how I thought of it anyhow.

 I wish I could stand next to my Grandmothers right now while they were washing dishes. I would watch them. I would admire them. I would ask them all about their lives.

My Grandmas were very different in many ways. But other ways, so very much alike. They were both excellent homemakers. And they were both desperately devoted to their husbands.

In closing, I'll just say, I don't think I'm going to be bugging my husband for a dishwasher any time soon. I am going to take this broken dishwasher and learn from it. I am going to enjoy my time at the sink, gazing out the windows, cherishing my memories. Honoring the women of the past who worked so hard as homemakers. Harder than I have ever had to.

To my Grandmothers: You are my idols, my teachers, my heroes. I miss you both every day and I treasure my memories of you.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Give me back my glass bottles!! Please.

It was not so long ago when we drank soda's from glass  bottles. And we recycled them....and it was fun! I'm not talking about way back in the "olden days" either. It was as recent as the 80's.
When I was a little girl, we had  a designated space in the kitchen or on the steps from the kitchen leading to the basement for 6 packs of glass bottles. They were in cardboard covers and after you drank one, you simply put it back in it's cozy little case. Once you got a good stack going you would load up the back of the car and take them to a local grocery store to exchange them for MONEY! You heard me, money. You didn't just take them to a recycling plant, dump them and leave. You actually got some money back.
My Stepmother loved Pepsi in the bottle. One of my favorite memories of her was when I would help her load the car with the bottles.
We would go to our local mom and pop grocery store called Town & Country. The front of the store was windows, slightly tinted and it seems the sign with their name on it had some dark brown wooden shingles. You walk in to a warped floor with those old school tiles, you know which ones I mean? They weren't porcelain  but they weren't vinyl but they were like the ones you had in school. Only they came in about a million different colors! I still love those tiles even today! But the aisles in the store were filled with food and candy and love!
So we would carry in all our bottles and  take them to the cashier. There was no motorized movey thingy or electronic cash register. You had to scoot your groceries and goods to the cashier and she had to manually type in each price. She would count each bottle and then give us money back for them.
I was always allowed to buy a candy bar with some of our winnings, and at this store there was a variety of candy like no other!
We would then drive  home and go about our day. Chores, playing, cooking, baking, etc. It wasn't that hard to do! I don't understand why things are not still done that way. Back then, if you wanted the treat of soda, you put in a little effort and didn't destroy the planet with plastic in the meantime. You put in just a little work and not only helped preserve our planet, but also got a little money back. I see recycling plants today and they are good, yes, but they certainly do not strike the joyful memory nerve as glass bottles did for me.
 I really wish that glass would make a comeback. In a BIG way! I miss working for my priveledges. I don't feel I'm entitled to drink soda from plastic and then just throw it into a pile in the earth.
I miss glass bottles and all they represent to me. I miss those wonderful, simple moments with my Stepmother. She has no idea what those memories mean to me, or what they have taught me.
Thank you my Linda, I miss you and I  love you forever!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Home on a Friday night? Never!

When I was a teenager you would NOT find me home on a Friday night.
Me at age 16, can you picture it? Long dishwater blonde, mile high hair with a spiral perm. Braces on teeth, tightrolled stonewashed jeans and some type of Tshirt. Often times a Hyper Color shirt that changed colors when you touched it or, perspired, *cough* Highschool boys thought themselves clever by trying to leave a handprint somewhere on the shirt, nice try fellas.

A typical Friday for me would begin by driving myself to school in my 1987 Chevy Cavalier with a bumper sticker that read "Hey Dude"...yes you read that correctly! Arrive to school, sometimes late. If not late, would park my car and hang out in the smoking area in front of my high school. Some grown up  thought it was a good idea to have a smoking area at school and for the first time ever, I agreed with an adult on the subject.

Feeling happy that it was Friday, I would hang with my friends til the bell rang. Go to my first hour class and each class after. Taking a mid morning nap in history, then finally, it's lunch time.
My favorite subject thank you very much! More smoking area after lunch. Finish rest of the day, all the while getting more and more excited for that last bell to ring and then SWEET WEEKEND FREEDOM! Talking to everyone in the halls, trying to figure out the most happening events for the weekend ahead.

Drive home from school with radio blaring some type of Poison song or something of the sort. Usually would have a few passengers to drop off and then head home for a nap. Wake up from nap, take a shower. Redo mile high hair and 80's makeup and head out the door to a party somewhere. Anywhere! Sometimes it was a field, sometimes it was a house. It really didn't  matter as long as I was NOT at home.

Back then there were no cell phones. Not even pagers yet. If they existed, we didn't know about it anyhow. No communication with parents whatsoever! Just out, being bad, causing trouble and having fun. Not a care in the world!

That is how I spent my youth. From my teen years all the way through my twenties. When I think of it now, those days seem so far away. Now, you're lucky to see me at the grocery store on a Friday.  I am such a homebody!

There is something magical about your teen years. That first step toward freedom from your parents is something words can't describe. It is almost an anxious feeling. The way I felt driving away from my parents house was incredible!

But what's the kicker? Now when I drive away from my parents house, I cry.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Good 'Ol Days?

When I see the chaos in the world around me, I am not surprised. Most of the time I feel alone in my way of thinking but I am starting to accept it. I cannot live my life engaged in battles of words with people who's ears are completely closed.

What I will do, today, right now, this very second is own my part. I know the state of the world today, I am partly to blame.

When I look back at my life I realize there were things that were just too hard to think about, too hard to deal with. So I pushed them under a theoretical rug. Today I am lifting that rug and shaking it out!

I am making a promise to myself to focus more on the causes that are dear to my heart. The world around me would like it if I argued about the things they care about. But the truth is, what they care about, I don't. The reason I don't care is because I have answers for these problems but they are falling on closed minds, closed ears, and closed hearts. It's not the problems I don't care about, it's the people enabling the problems.

When I hear people say they miss the "good 'ol days", I cringe. Why? Because those days were not so good for millions of people. Those days harbored false fronts of happiness, and also complete loss of freedom for others.

You might be surprised to hear that I have always felt this way considering my love for the past.

Yes, I love certain things about the past, yes I never want to forget any of it, even the bad...ESPECIALLY the bad.

I do not want to live in the past. I only want to learn from it. Bring to my future, the good things and be reminded of the bad things, what not to do. I love the way I feel when I think about the good things in my childhood. I cherish my memories.

So I will continue my love of the past but make no mistake, I do not long to go backwards. I long to move forward but hopefully being better than the past.

I have slowly opened my mind which taught me that I do not have all the answers and I need to listen. I need to learn.  I will be firm in my beliefs, I will stand my ground, but I will also hear you out.

I wish I could say the future looks bright. But honestly, I feel with the work as a human that I need to do to help others, looks hard. It looks scary. It looks like a lot of work.

But to me it's important because as hard as it is for me to even think about it, imagine the people actually living it, the people who need help.

Reviewing this I am finding, it reads a little dismal, yet inside, I am kind of jumping with joy at my new found burst of energy to try and help others in need.

The decision I have made to no longer waste my time, energy, words, and thoughts with people who do not hear me, feels exhilarating!

I wish you all a wonderful day ahead and maybe a new lease on life!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Savannah Smiles + Tory= Memory Love

 By 1982 I was kind of a mess. My Mom was really trying to help me get through my parents divorce which had already been several years,  but I just wasn't coping. There was however one glimpse of hope for me in the form of a big sister. Not a real big sister but from the actual organization. Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. Being a single Mom was hard enough for her but add on top of that, a child who was completely angry and out of control, or constantly sobbing, well, it was hard times all around. So she did all she could and one day, she brought me a gift by the name of Tory.

Tory was my new Big Sister and I was instantly drawn to her. I was happy around her and felt like maybe someone understood me. She was a teenager with long curly brown hair. I couldn't wait for my visits with her!

She would take me out to dinner or to her friends apartment to go swimming in the pool. But one time, she took me to the movies. She took me to see Savannah Smiles.

It is a magnificent film about a little girl who feels ignored by her parents. She decides she must run away. Yes, extreme I know. But hey it was the 80's.

I remember sitting in the theater next to my Big Sister, watching this movie. I didn't take my eyes off it, I was enthralled! I felt so connected to Savannah. I loved her little bedroom. I remember she had a framed Strawberry Shortcake poster hanging on the wall. Her brass bed was covered in frilly, yellow and white bedding. There was a gumball machine next to her little tv.

But alas, even amidst all these wonderful "things" all she really wanted was her Mom and Dad's affection and attention. So to cut to the chase, she bolts. She sneaks off and climbs into a beat up car which happens to be the automobile of 2 escaped convicts named Alvie and Boots. Who actually turn out to be wonderful people and return her safely to her family, but not before a whirlwind adventure!

By the end of the movie, my eyes were welling up with tears. This is the first movie I can ever remember crying at and I was so embarassed. I did not want my Big Sister to see me cry but I know she saw me.
From that moment on, Savannah Smiles was embedded in my memory bank. All my life, Savannah was there. And of course now, more than ever!

There are certain fictional characters that I hold so close to my heart because they are the only ones I felt I could relate to. No real person ever helped me cope. That was, until I met my Tory.

I still think of her so often and wish I could see her.

I moved out of the state and lived with my Dad around 4th grade and I thought I'd never see Tory again. But I did one time. Someplace I never thought I'd see her. My dad took me to a Michael Jackson concert, the Victory tour, which by the way was in July (I think) of 1984 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. So we were walking to our seats and there she was, sititng at a booth selling Tshirts. She was working the summer concert. There was my Tory! We hugged tight and said our hello's and goodbyes and that was the last time I ever saw her.

I think it's kind of magical that the concert tour was VicTORY and her name is TORY.
So yes, my memory of her is pretty epic!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I met a celebrity at Worlds of Fun! Well almost.

Worlds of Fun. What can I say? It is one of the biggest and best memories of my youth. It is a theme park that has been in my memory since as far back as I can recall.

In elementary I remember going with my family. When I lived with my Mother in Kansas, we would drive to KC, Mo to stay with family often. Sometimes we would get to go to Worlds of Fun!

I remember the night before, my cousins and I could barely sleep! The anticipation of the next day's events were almost unbearable. Finally, the sun would come up and we would load into the station wagon. I loved sitting in the very far back, no seat belts of course, complete freedom.

Once you saw the giant, colorful water tower, you knew the fun was about to begin! And it did. All day of fun at an amusement park. I saw several concerts there with the likes of The Charlie Daniels Band and one of my favorites, Juice Newton.  I have but a few photo's of myself on some rides and I cherish them.

Fast forward to middle school. I was now living in KC with my Dad. I had a season passport every summer to World's of Fun and I used the heck out of it. Went ALL the time! My friends and I would stay all day  until the park closed! At one point they opened up kind of a party tent. I mean it was incredible! It was called Exit 54 (I had not yet learned about the infamous STUDIO 54) It opened in the evening and had the loudest 80's music you ever heard and you just DANCED until the park closed.

When I was in 8th grade, word had spread like wildfire that a celebrity would be at Worlds of Fun. Now, this was not uncommon as there were many concerts there. But this was different. There would be a celebrity using the park. Just walking around like a normal person! That celebrity was Jason Batemen.

I don't exactly recall everything he was doing in the 80's acting wise, but I did know his sister was on Family Ties and I knew who he was without a doubt. And come on, he was a fox.

So I went that day. I looked at every turn to catch a glimpse. I knew if he met me he'd want to marry me. I just knew it.

Word was out that he was on the Orient Express roller coaster, my favorite ride. So my friends and I go and wait at the exit for him. Oh I was giddy! Suddenly people start stirring, I can tell he will be in front of me soon. I see him coming off the ride! Closer, closer.....and gone. Passed right before me. We didn't even make eye contact.

Well that was that. I literally went on with the rest of my day, went on with my summer. Went on with my life.

Since then I have looked at celebrities in a different way. You feel like you know them because they are in your life so much. Sometimes every day. But remember, we are not in theirs. I know now they are just working stiffs like the rest of us, they just happen to make the big bucks. That is quite fine by me, I am very happy living the simple life.

But that doesn't change the fact that pop culture is a huge part of my life. Music and movies have been my constant companions since I was a very young girl. Entertainers are valuable to me. I want to know everything about them. Who they are married to, what they eat, what is their favorite color. But unlike the  paparazzi,  I only want to know what they want me to know. Despite popular opinion, their lives are not (or should not be) on display. Their WORK is what is public and what is on display.

P.S.  I am a huge Jason Bateman fan :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ramona Quimby, My BFF

When I look back at my early childhood I have to remind myself that in the midst of a family torn apart by divorce and turmoil, there was a bright and imaginative little girl. Me.

I think of the painful things often, but even more often than that, I think about the good things. I think about Ramona Quimby. If she and I had ever met I am certain we would have been best friends forever because she was the only person who could possibly understand me.

I would check out every Ramona  book from the library in my youth and carry the memories with me forever. Even now. I would sometimes stay up late in my room reading about her adventures! We were the same age afterall and how could I not want to be just like her?

From the time she squeezed an entire tube of toothpaste into the bathroom sink out of sheer frustration to the time she got her hair shampooed, cut and styled by a real hairdresser, at a real salon! Wearing her pajama's to school, you name it, she experienced it! I found myself having very similar events in my own life.

One time my Mother took me to a hair salon and I felt just like Ramona! The shampoo smelled so good and was so relaxing to have my hair washed by someone else. When I was done and styled I kept running up and down the ramp from the waiting area to the salon area, glimpsing in every single mirror at my new hairdo!

Once, in 4th grade I was at school. It was a lucky day, we got to watch a movie in class! I remember sitting in the corner of the classroom at my desk. It was a dark and rainy day outside and I was right next to the window enjoying the scene of it all. I felt so cozy. I was wearing a friend's jacket. Not just any jacket, this was a baby blue satin jacket with pink sleeves and a giant roller skate patched on the front of it! The best jackets from my youth indeed! Once again, I was feeling like Ramona.

 I realize now that my love for Ramona Quimby actually arose from amazing writing. I mean, that is a sign of an extraordinary writer, someone who can make you feel like your IN the book with the characters. Feeling, smelling, tasting every written word. That is what inspires me. That is creativity at it's absolute best. Stirring emotions without even a photo! Amazing.

So thank you Beverly Cleary for sending me Ramona Quimby, my best friend forever.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Freedom Child

It's true what they say about childhood in the past. The freedom we had was amazing and real.

I lived with my Mother until the end of 3rd grade. I remember in the winter time, my brother and I would get bundled up and go play in the snow for hours. Not an adult in sight! We would play with the neighborhood kids. Have snowball fights and build igloos!

In the summer we would walk ourselves to the pool during the day. Play outside until the sun went down. Never once seeing a supervising eye. It was freedom like no other!

I moved in with my Dad in 4th grade. There was a family directly across the street from us and the boy was the same age as me. We quickly became best friends! We spent a lot of time outdoors, roaming the streets. Walking  wherever we chose. The arcade, the gas station, the neighborhood..... By ourselves.

We even walked to school every day and cut through a path in some dense woods!

We also spent a lot of time in his room playing Atari and listening to records. But one of my favorite things we did was record our voices on his cassette tape recorder. HOURS of fun! We would make movies and then play it back in Chipmunk voice.

On to middle school I began to make new friends. My neighbor and I were still very close but I began to become a little bit wild for his taste. I had new friends, kind of rebelious friends, if you will. We would walk to the gas stations, the school at night. Again, anywhere we wanted to go, we went!

Sweet Freedom?

Well I'll admit I do know what that freedom feels like. 100% I know. And people ask me these days if I will let my own kids experience that freedom. I tell them no. Flat out no.

Why? Because although I had this freedom and an extreme amount of fun, there are plenty of things that I am not telling you. Things that happen to children who are unsupervised. The not so bright side of freedom.

But make no mistake, the dark things are not what I focus on! They are what I learn from.

So when I hear people say it makes them angry that kids today are not allowed the same freedom we had so long ago, I want to, frankly, stomp their toe.

I loved the freedom I had but I will not pretend it was perfect.  What I will do is learn from it all and try to give my kids more of the good things.

I don't live or dwell in the past but I will not ignore it, as it has much to teach me!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hubba Bubba Bubble Blowing Contest

When I was about 10 or 11 I was in a Hubba Bubba Bubble Blowing contest. It was at our local mall and my Stepmother took me. It was quite an experience!
First of all, I was just so excited to be there. It felt so important for some reason. A really big deal, in my mind anyway.
So I'm anxiously standing in the line. My heart was pounding fast, I was downright nervous! They began to pass out one piece of gum to each contestant. I still remember the smell  as I unwrapped it. Such a sweet smell! Once unwrapped, it had almost a powdery coating on it. I popped it into my mouth and began to chew. I was on my way to winning this contest!
There were at least 10 kids in front of me, so I had time to practice blowing bubbles. As I practiced, my nerves began to calm because I was blowing some huge bubbles! I kept practicing and watching the people in front of me as they took their turn.
Suddenly I was not only calm, I was getting a little cocky too and I asked for a second piece of gum to add to my first. They complied and as soon as I put it in my mouth, I thought I may have made a mistake. My bubbles were no longer easy and big. They were thick and small! My nerves started to get the best of me again.
Finally it was my turn. I stepped up on the small stage. My palms were sweaty!
You had to blow a bubble and the judge had a circular type of ruler. I had never seen such a thing. But it was in the shape of a C and would expand smaller or larger.
So I did it. I blew a bubble. A tiny, thick, non winning bubble. POP it was over just like that!
No, I was not a bubble blowing winner that day. But I did not leave upset. I left learning that less is more and that if I ever had the chance to be in another Hubba Bubba Bubble Blowing contest, I would only chew one piece of gum.
 I've not yet had the opportunity to claim that award but that's alright by me because this was a  fabulous experience in my youth that created a memory that I cherish!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Failures Are My Success

It has taken me a long time to learn that all the "disappointments" I had in my youth were actually only gateways to success  in my future. Every failure led to greatness somewhere else.
When I was in my early 20's I wanted to join the Army. Not for the right reasons, but I'll get to that.  I went to the testing place, took my physical and all the required steps. When it came time to decide what my job would be in the Army my only options were to be a cook or work in the kitchen. The reason I would have ranked so low is because I did horrible on the math testing. I rocked everywhere else especially grammar, spelling, etc. But the recruiter suggested I wouldn't like doing that so maybe I should just join the reserves.
Well that was that. The end of my Army interest and good thing too because if I had gone to the Army I might not have met my husband. If I had been good at math I would have missed all kinds of things in life. That's how I look at it now anyway.
Looking back it was excellent that I didn't go because I didn't want to join to serve my country, I wanted to escape my living situation, I wanted to change my life. That was not the way to do it!
What I ended up doing was moving away from my hometown, that's all, very simple! And it changed my life forever and for the better! Every single step I took when I moved away led me to my husband. And when I think of it now, it amazes me. Everything on that path, painful or otherwise, led me to a FABULOUS life full of love, peace and success. My version of success is radically different from others though. But that is a whole other story!
So now  days  I don't get all bent out of shape when something falls through because I know there is a good reason for it. I never envy others, I can say that honestly, proudly. I do not want what is not mine, I am not lacking anything in my life.
So maybe a big thank you today to past failures! Thank you for pointing me in the right direction!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Music Moment

Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in....Dr. Martens! BUT that did not stop me from loving country music. Yes I love rock and roll but the truth is I just love good music. If it's good, I'll listen.

This fabulous day of April 12, one major player in  my memory bank made a self titled debut album (in 1989). That memory maker, is Garth Brooks.

I remember the first time I ever heard "Friends in low Places". There are not many songs that I can place the exact moment I heard them for the first time, but this one, I can.

I was with a group of my friends. We were at someones house, sort of on a farm. Just out in the country and we were riding 4 wheelers. The music was coming from a truck and it was loud.

The song came on and we all listened. I don't know if any of them had heard it before or not but it seems to me that the DJ introduced Garth and this brand new song....Could it be that I happened to hear it the VERY first time it was EVER aired?! That I will never know.

But I do know the feeling the song gave me. We all got very quiet and listened to the song and we were slightly jamming, just a little. You know, nodding our heads, feeling the music.

It was just a really sunny day and this new song was making me feel incredibly  happy, elated, joyful!

By the end of the song I was just like Joey on the tv show Blossom.... WHOA!!!

I was sure to rush out and buy the cassette tape and almost every other cassette tape he released after that album.

Somewhere around 1995 ish, I finally got to see Garth in concert and it was the best show I have ever seen.

I am a rocker for sure but there are some country artists that also have my heart, Garth is #1 on that list.

I don't know what it is about music but it is one thing that can take you back to a single moment in time. You remember the smells, the scenery, the feelings, emotions. It's like your right there again!

Thanks for the memories Garth, they mean more than you know!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Born Just In The Nick Of Time

Once upon a time there was a little girl  born in the 70's. She grew up in the 80's. Became an adult in the 90's. Then turned into a wife and mother in the 2000's. Yes, hello, it's me!
I often hear people say they wish they had been born in a different era. Not me! I think I got the prime year of birth. The changes I have been able to witness are down right exciting!
At a young age, I got to experience the very first day ever of MTV. I remember waking up one morning, going out to the living room where my big brother was and turning on the tv. While flipping through channels, there it was. A music video was playing.  We had no idea what we were looking at but  our eyes were glued to the tv set and for good reason, we were experiencing history being made. Whether you think it's important or not, it was to us!
Fast forward to the 1990's when I first experienced the internet. I didn't understand it! I was baffled by the internet "chat rooms". I went to visit my friend at college one weekend. I went into the dorm room and one of my friends was on the computer "chatting" with someone. I couldn't wrap my mind around it! I just kept asking how she was doing this? Who are you talking to? Do you know them? If you don't know them, WHY are you talking to them? I was so confused! It took me so long to embrace the internet but I am finally there.
So you see, from the music, movies, pop culture, fashion, hairstyles, technology I have such a variety of memories spanning from then to now. I am lucky to have been born in the 70's!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Although divorce created chaos and sadness in my childhood, there are still good memories that come to mind.

My parents lived an hour apart from each other and I only saw my Dad every 2 weeks.  Of course I loved my Mom but when you only see one parent 4 days per month, like my Dad and me, you cherish your time together like gold.

The ride home from my Dad's house after our short visit was dark and lonely for me, even in the daylight.  I would sit quietly in the car and dread saying goodbye.

But the trips TO his house for my bi weekly visit, well that is a whole other story. I was joyful!

My favorite game to play in the car as  a little girl was Redbud. It's a simple game he taught my brother and me to play during Spring. Such a small little thing to do, but it meant the world to me.

All you do is spot a tree with bright red or pink blooms and yell "Redbud!"

I love the Springtime now and when I'm riding in the car with my kids I remember the feeling I had riding in the car with my Dad playing Redbud.

Sometimes the simplest of memories bring you the most joy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Homemaker In My Heart

It's really  no surprise to me that  I am a homemaker. But if you knew me when I was growing up, you would never have pegged me as one. Looking back, I didn't know at the time either that was actually my calling.
I was a mess as a kid and even into my 20's. But when I look back I see all the signs of a homemaker in progress.
For example, I was a horrible student in every grade. I failed so many classes over the years. But the classes I didn't fail, and even excelled in, were Home Ec and cooking classes. PE too which is odd because I am no where near being athletic.
In Home Ec I successfully raised egg babies and learned how to care for children and the home. In my cooking classes, which I took all 4 years of highschool, I found my favorite thing to do was copy recipes onto recipe cards.
Fast forward to present day and you will see I am doing exactly those things. I am not doing math or science. I am homemaking and raising kids. I am also collecting old cookbooks and have a stash of old recipe boxes.
I held many jobs before becoming a mother including being a hairdresser and an EMT. I am neither of those things professionally anymore but I am an amateur. Learning those skills after highschool apply to my life now. I cut my entire family's hair, and doctor their wounds.
From the time I was a little girl, all the way until the time I became a mother, I longed to be with women who were homemakers. I idolized them. I never knew why.
Now I do!

Monday, February 20, 2012

How do?

Hello one and all! Actually hello to only me right now, as I have zero followers! This is my very first blog post so please forgive me if it's a total snooze fest.
I suppose I should explain the name, Marvelous Memories. In a nutshell, I collect my memories and share them with you. Only the marvelous ones!
I will share my thoughts, photo's and likes with you. I love the pop culture of my childhood. I am a child of the 70's & 80's. I use to have 80's hair, now I'm told I have 70's hair. That is a compliment to me!
I am also obsessed with learning about the daily lives of women in the past. Particularly the daily lives around the household.
So come along on this ride into the past and have some fun!

Arthur's Theme

Arthur's Theme (Best that you can do) ...This song has a way of sweeping me off to another time and place. It starts in my childhood an...