Friday, June 29, 2007


Life has slowed down enough to post again. I can see how this summer is going to be with blogging!! LOL
My birthday week was fab...

Well, first we cropped on Friday night. I think it was the first time I cropped since last summer. It was great. We laughed a ton, ate great food (tried eggplant parmesan) and chocolate, and I got my prayer journal done. Rhonda dropped in on her way to a night away with her husband, but the rest of us were there for the duration. My box of dark chocolates were cracked in to immediately and have been enjoyed ever since!!

Take 1: Joseph is an idiot for the first of almost every shot I take. I could do an entire album of Joseph outtakes. This is me looking at him, sensing his idiocy, just as I'm pushing the button. Perfect timing!!

Take two: Cassie decides to blow a bubble, which I pop, at the exact same time I push the shutter. We were laughing so hard we had to take a break before the next shot!!

Success at last!!

Saturday, Kimberlee came over and gave me a bag of great goodies, including some of my favorite paper and a "G"!! Then we went out to B&N for some cheesecake. I have convinced her that Godiva chocolate cheesecake is fabulous. It took no convincing on my part!!

Sunday, it was church and Cassie came. She brought a beautiful, full red rose and gave it to me! I just love it when she walks in places. Her presence alone makes it better. After church, we came home and decided to go out to breakfast in Naperville and walk around up there...after I opened my presents...which were AC/DC magnets from Joseph, and a beautiful set of chimes; a digital frame from Paul and a lunch/manicure from Cassie. I'm looking forward to that!!

I listened to my messages while changing...Lynda left me the longest message I've ever had and Sherrie and the kids sang...

Off to Egg Harbor, checking my texts on the way, and more voicemails from my nieces and sister.

Lunch (it was 130 before we ate) was great and the kids were getting along, so it was a wonderful day. We came home and played cards (ok it was my bday, but I still didn't WIN!!).
More messages, from my mom and brother, and some email greetings too!!
Check out Cassie's balloon head!!

By then, I wasn't feeling very well from the corned beef hash, so that was the end of my bday... but it continued on on Monday!!

Bible study, which was great as always, and found out that Paul had made several calls to find out the recipe to a chocolate cake that I loved. He called Sherrie, who called Lynda, who called Kimberlee, who called Melissa, who had a recipe. A great recipe. Yummy. Rich. Dark. But the cake I was watching him eat on the day he discovered chocolate cake, was the cake I MADE from a box. Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate cake, with a half of a bag of mint chocolate chips on top and a can of frosting. I thought that was the funniest, nicest story for bday prep.

Monday afternoon, I had some mentor moms over for lunch. That was great too. What an amazing group of women. I am humbled to be part of their posse. Wise, funny, kind, great women. Anyway, I started telling the cake recipe search story, and Evelyn started laughing right away, because she remembered me bringing the cake to Lynda's house!! It's a keeper story.
Monday night, out with Lynda and Kimberlee to Portillo's and B&N again. We had so much fun. It was totally unexpected and wonderful.
Lynda gave me a beautiful necklace and earring set that I know I will wear alot, but the best gift was their TIME!!
Thus ends my bday story...which is good because my "niece visiting story" begins Monday. And I need a little rest!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I was going to do this long update on my fabuloso bday, but I have to now squeeze my errands in before one kid gets dropped off here and taking my ONE kid to the mall....
Keep your eyes peeled for when I get back!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

IN one hour...

I'll be the same age as my sister. For the next 28 days, she will hound me relentlessly about how we are the same age. It used to be ME hounding her. Somewhere along the lines, it switched. Hmmm...

Her birthday present to me is one of the best I"ll ever receive. She's quitting smoking. So if you know her, encourage her!! Our master plan is to start with a pack a day (good Lord that's alot of money!!) and each week, crush one more cigarette when she opens her daily pack. But she has to cut back by one each week. So by the end of November, she should be smoke free. Theoretically, pretty painless transition!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Two days...

Today is the beginning of my birthday weekend!! Anyone who has been in my life very long knows that I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE celebrating birthdays. I think EVERYONE should be the queen of the universe (ok, or king) for at least one day around their bday. We decorate rooms, chairs and have heaps o presents waiting for the kids the morning of their birthdays. We do whatever they want all day...which in the past has been: moon jellies at the zoo, men in black 2, spiderman 1 and 2, pajama day, books in bed, going to Portillo's and cold stone, making ceramics, movie marathons at home, popsicles being brought to play practice, etc. etc. They get their favorite meal, as dictated the weekend before, their favorite cake and can have friend's spend the night.

It's really important that I find special gifts and make cards/cds/etc. that reflect what's going on in their lives...

and this extends to my nieces and nephew too...I just love bdays. It makes me happy to recognize someone's presence and impact in my life.


I'm off to crop. And then crop some more. I'm sitting here with my bling mug, which always makes me smile and think of Meliss, and all the friends I got one for and passed on the smiles. It's a good day here today...not just because of my bday weekend...because

God is good and faithful and loving. Awesome and quirky humored. Bigger than my problems, or yours. Wants whats best for us; knows whats best for us; GIVES us what is best for us. Which doesn't always co-incide with what we want.

Today, He kinda cracked me upside the head with some "geriann, be nice" conviction. SO I"m off to be nice. You be nice too!!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

working still does...

work!! Even a little bit at a time. I've spent the last two days in concerted efforts at digging out my office and basement. The basement is an annual rite of passage into summer (just ask my kids!!), so that was a no brainer. But I hadn't done ANYTHING to maintain my office in like a month, and it really showed!
So....after 2 hours in the basement: I found two pair of shoes I bought and stuck down there for this summer (YIPPEE!! New shoes and they're free!!) and two pair of earrings (red danglers and big black hoops); I consolidated my unfinished projects and toted off Paul's car FULL of goodwill yummies. I repacked Cassie's stuff that was left out the last time she was here and wanted to find something. I unpacked my scrapbooks that I ordered on the internet and found a few mini albums for my lovelies to receive for gifts. You get the idea. It was two hours of sweating and moving and finding and sorting. I brought over a bag of wiffle balls, a HUGE bag of colored pencils and cards for our church groups. Yeah!! I love passing things on to someone who can use them...and we've definitely outgrown those things. Sigh.
And my office...well, it's all cleaned up and ready to go for my weekend crop this weekend. I even have an overflow bag at the ready.
So my plan for tomorrow is:
Get up early and walk for an hour
Take a shower and get in some comfy clothes
Scrap from 10-345
Get my hair cut at 4 and go right from there to a crop with Michelle, Judy and Kimberlee (go Shimmer Sistas!!)
Come home and crop some more if I'm up for it.
Otherwise, go to bed and start it all again on Saturday.

My goal for the weekend is to finish my unfinished cards from the swap, get my circle journal things done, and get started on Meesh's graduation album. A lofty goal, but a goodie!!
And should I fail, here's what I'm gonna tell myself:
Goals are stars to steer by, not sticks to beat yourself with...Barbara B Smith said that. She obviously had children.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Every story told from every person, when told with complete and raw honesty, gently removes the masks that cause us to believe that we are completely different from each other.

I ran across this quote today. One of my favorite things to experience is the dropping of the mask. and then watching or being that person who is accepted, beneath the mask. Love and responded to and heard.

We rush through life so much, running to achieve, accumulate, act. But the best parts of life for me are the quieter times. Popcorn and a movie, sitting on the swing in my backyard with a friend, talking, dreaming, drinking a cup of tea. Playing cards or dominoes with people I love. Being asked a question and having time to think and respond.

I think in the end, we are all so very much the same. Wanting to be seen and heard. Wanting to be wanted and missed when we're gone. Wanting to be respected, not only for what we do, but who we are. Wanting acceptance and love and tenderness.

Life is too short to wear a mask through it. Of course there are appropriate times for not blabbing your whole life to everyone you meet. Discretion is important, I've learned these last few years. Not just for me, but for the other people who are in the story and for those listening. Some people can't help but repeat what they've heard to others. Sad as that is, it's true. But in the end, we were not created IN isolation or FOR isolation.

And, on another note, my 5 for today:
I worked out...and did upper body strength too

I found not one but two bags from Archiver's when I was cleaning the basement. Embarrassing, since I think they've been down there over a year. Still a thing I'm grateful for.
I met my goals for the day: 1 hour in the basement, 1 hour in the office, cleaned 4 drawers and labelled the unlabelled things, wrote my nephew an email.
Wednesday night class tonight. I can't wait!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dori's gone

seems like such a quick visit. We crammed in an awful lot while she was here. Practically everything on her to do list was accomplished, including a bonus trip to Oberweis for ice cream. Shopping, talking, having a cup of (tea/coffee) and martini's together...all the makings of a good trip!! How could I forget the required chick flick since the Bears aren't playing??? And laughing last night over our rained out barbecue and off she goes till July/August. Sigh.

Turns out the Kelly concert cancellation wasn't an all bad thing, since the tickets we thought were purchased were actually forgotten!! Imagine getting plane tix to fly down there to NOT see Kelly. Sigh part 2.

And still trying to get ahold of Cassie. Sigh part 3.

Normal life begins again for 10 days. Then Meesh comes for 3 weeks or so!!

A blog worthy story: Paul and I have been together off and on for 28 years. That would be, for those of you doing the math, from my 16th birthday on. In fact, our first kiss was the Saturday before my 16th bday. We went to see Rocky with a group of my friends, out for a make your own sundae and back to my parent's house. He kissed me when we were outside and he was getting ready to leave. I TOTALLY remember it. He does not. So he remembers this conversation we had about him kissing me the saturday before my bday, goes on line and checks a perpetual calendar website (which for him is the HUGEST THING!! He is totally computer illiterate!!) and makes me this giant kiss, fills it with lip balm and 28 kisses. Makes a little pull tag with a sweet note... But it's a week early. We kissed the saturday before my bday...that would be the 23rd. SO I"m thinking I"m going to get him one of those big hollow hershey kisses for the 23rd...and make a mental that in the year 2009, we will be kissing for 30 years. Man I feel old. Seriously old.

Friday, June 15, 2007

kelly...what the heck are you doing???

I'm up obnoxiously early (like 5:45) because SOMEONE (ie, Paul) left the bathroom door open and the laser beam known as the sun was in my eyes. Ugh.


Kelly Clarkson cancelled her summer concert series. That would be she cancelled MY summer ending weekend with my niece to (1) celebrate her bday and (2) to go to the Kelly concert.

I'm bitter. No really. I am.
NO VIP room. No tornadic activity. Sigh.
I guess I don't need to dig out the red blanket to recreate our vip room from last year.

I"m off to walk, drink tea and shop at the Promenade with Dor...maybe that will dull the pain!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dor's on her way...

in her rental car from Midway airport. We have hardly any plans but to hang out and visit and hang out some more. I'm looking forward to it. This kicks off the travel/visit frenzy of the summer.
I booked my niece's tix to come July 2nd, exactly 10 minutes before she called and said "AG, I was thinking about going to FL for July 4th". Grrrr....isn't that the way things happen??? But I win. (Sorry meliss!!) and she's coming here. First stop when she gets off the plane...Taste of Chicago. Gotta have some gator on a stick. And fried rav's. And rainbow ice cream. It's difficult but someone's gotta do it. you know what happens when the top to the teabrewer is left off? Nothing. It does not brew. It makes alot of steam. A lot of noise. What it doesn't make a lot of is tea. Just another incident in the "proof that I"m a dork" file. Not to mention the flinging of the eyeliner so I had a lovely green stripey on my vanity instead of my eye. Oh well. At least I can fake and bake better than in the past. No stripes of tan. It's all over. Even though some would say I'm still pale, they are WRONG!! I'm tan. Really I am. I'd prove it but that sight might be scarring for life.
Off to have fun...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I can't believe it's been almost a week!!

I am soooooooooooooooooooo out of the habit of my habits. This was my big comeback week, and all I came back to was hanging out with people. LOL. Not that it's a bad thing, but I'm in need of some structure...
Went to a recipe swap Friday night. One of the things I love about our MOPS group is that there are so many opportunities to get to know people...and this was one of them. For example, I found out Sara's last name is Smith. That would be right after I suggested (half jokingly) that she name her unborn child Lovey. She wanted an unusual, not boring but also not weird name. So I say "how about Lovey?" "Lovey???" "Yes, you know Lovey, like the Bears coach, Lovey Smith" which point everyone started laughing and filled me in. She's a funny, delightful lady with great stories and an amazing will.

Great food, lots of laughs, some great wisdom from Heather aka Heidi Ho...and a darn good dessert too.
You would not believe
One--Jen Weymouth just had a baby (the one on the right) She looks phenomonal enough for us all to hate her!!
Two-I have a way more incriminating picture of Heather that I passed on including!!
Saturday was an exhausting, but totally productive card swap. We all worked like maniacs and barely stopped to eat, but got 21 cards made and a paperbag album done. Didn't get to talk to anyone very much, which was kind of a bummer...

Sunday church, breakfast, the Jackhammers game and Joseph coming home. We were all tired and sweaty and I swear I smelled like a dirt mound by the end of the game. Just for the record, the hammers lost and baseball is still the most boring sport on earth. And further for the record in answer to the question "will that diet pepsi keep you up??" the answer is: YES, as in every hour almost on the hour all night.

Monday was bible study again. I love that study. I LOVE the study. It's always to the point. On point. Effective. Funny. Good. And the food was great and company fabulous as always.

At this point, Melissa thinks I"m avoiding her, I still haven't really caught up with Dori, and there's days more before the end of the week!!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sometimes things just do go splat

A man meets a guru in the road. The man asks the guru, "which way is success?"
The bearded sage speaks not but points to a place off in the distance.
The man, thrilled by the prospect of quick and easy success, rushes off in the appropriate direction. Suddenly, there comes a loud "splat." Eventually, the man limps back, tattered and stunned, assuming he must have misinterpreted the message. He repeats his question to the guru, who again points silently in the same direction.
The man obediently walks off once more. This time the splat is deafening, and when the man crawls back, he is bloody, broken, tattered, and irate. "I asked you which way is success," he screams at the guru. "I followed the direction you indicated. And all I got was splatted! No more of this pointing! Talk!"
Only then does the guru speak, and what he says is this: "Success is that way. Just a little past splat."

I read this today and it resonated in my soul. It seems as if I've been splatted...more than once and often lately. The question I have to ask myself I want to go back for another splat or just walk away. I heard a saying that went like this: "sometimes forgiveness is about wishing someone well on their journey, but not going with them on it. Just wishing them well and letting them leave your life" Immediately someone from High school came to mind. It was a long time between when we stopped being friends and I could say 'I wish you well on your journey'. My heart had been hurt too much. betrayed too much. But today I can say that I DO wish her well on her journey...but I don't want to share in her journey.

And then..there's the people who I long to be on the journey with, but the trip is a solitary one. Work of maturing and growing. Work of being independent and finding out that INTERDEPENDENT is better. Work of finding their own relationship with God. And the work of becoming a trustworthy person of integrity.

Last night, P Rick was talking about how God sees us. How no matter how much we beat ourselves up or each other up, God is there cheering us on. There is NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING that can separate us from the love of God. Of course, I wept. Man, I wish I could stop doing that in his class. I'd love to blame it on the songs he picks...but it's just that God is peeling away the layers of my grief...and like stripping our old cabinets, there's just layers and layers of it...but He is a faithful God. He is gentle. He balances my soul and gives me gifts of friendship and His word and great songs and warm winds blowing my hair.

And it's so funny to me all the people who assume that I cry for our church...which I do sometimes. But mostly it's about see her so lost and so unwilling to follow the directions she has been given from the Holy Spirit...paralyzed in her fear and shame. And it's Paul, pretty much in the same place 2.5 years later...sabotaging himself and quitting after two weeks...And it's Dori's loss...and stress...and distance...

So to the next splat I go. And today...I am grateful for:

The songs Sacred, Praise you in the Storm and Voice of Truth
The hot wind outside and how the trees are dancing
Friends who I can laugh with and talk into the wee hours with
being barefoot and wearing a's the next best thing to being naked!!
Patrick's phone call yesterday even though I didn't get to talk to him
That God DOES keep cheering us on, even as we try to push Him away. He rocks!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

This came through today

from Sparkpeople.

To be nobody but yourself--in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else-- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.- EE Cummings, poet

Take a look at your priorities and your goals. Where did they come from? Are they the products of soul-searching, self-analysis, and careful planning? Or are they a reaction to pressures from other people? Did you find them within yourself or within the pages of a magazine? The answers to these questions are important because they tell you if the person you're becoming is someone you want to be. Here's another way to look at a goal: do you want it, or do you just think you should want it? It's not easy to follow your own direction in life. But it's more possible than you may think. Question everything. Every priority in your life needs to justify why it's there. If you can't come up with a good reason that actually comes from YOU, maybe it doesn't belong.

I have to say, I was a little caught off guard about this. I had just had a long conversation last night about the person I was becoming, really, slippig into being and tht I needed to make some changes to get back on track with myself...the healthiest version of myself.

I didn't/don't like the me thathas been surfacing in the lasat couple of weeks. ALthough there were goods things happening too, what I eralized was this:

1) I quit working out...I got more and more depressed. So DUH!! I started working out again.

2) I hadn't scrapped in a month...I get less and less thankful for the blessing of relationships

3) I've been lax about praying...specifically for Paul. My heart has gotten colder and harder toward him.

4) I've been listening to things like AC/DC isntead of worship music. ALthough I love the ROCK of AC/DC, it certainly doesnt' turn my mind in a good direction!! LOL So, MOnday I started listening to the radio stations I used to listen to...even at home (where I usually dont have music on at all).

ALl that to say...mid year tune up in progress. It's so easy to drift off our track. Or maybe I should just say it's easy for ME to drift off track. But I"m back on...feel free to ask me how it's going!!

cicada update: still none!! And as much as I appreciate all the offers to import them, I'll pass on each and every one!!

girls night out update: what fun we had again...amazing women. fun women. strong women. and boy can we pack away the food. The next one is the end of the month...salads and flavored teas. I'm already scoping out what salad to bring. well, make and put out. same difference!! LOL

And Cassie came...she was our "virgin" guest. Everyone else was repeat offenders in one form or another. She says she had fun and we had fun having her there...who wants to be our next virgin sacrifice??? LOL

travel update: June 14th- Dori comes in for a week; July 2, Michelle comes here!! WOOHOO July 27th-ish, we go for a girls' weekend!! August 20th-ish: out to WA state!! Labor day weekend: Kelly concert part two!!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

It's nice to have

a normalish day...and things are back to a rhythm here. Laundry done, dinner being cooked, phone calls getting returned.
And thanks to my niece's bad influenced, I"m not totally hooked on Prison Break. Wow. It's as compelling as 24 USED to be. Had to remind myself to breathe a few times in the last 2 episodes. Good thing I watched them on DVD. Now to wait for the second season. Great fake tattoos too.
FInally caught up with Cassie. She's a hard chicita to get ahold of. She said she got her hair cut up to her shoulders to get rid of all the split ends. ANd that she loves it. It curls even. No one I know has better hair than her!!
Joseph made it to FL. Two full days of driving and no xbox. None of the power converters worked. One of life's little ironies!! I hope he has fun. I hope he packed everything. I guess we'll all find out when he gets home.
And...I have a facebook now. So funny. Great way to share pix with people...and with some of my favorites to boot.
Had a little closing party for MOPS last night, at Lynda's She's a great hostess. And the food was fabulous...even at 1:30, cold.
Tomorrow, my girls night out that caused so freakin' much controversy. I'm looking forward to hanging with Judy and everyone else...and eating Mexican food. Yummy.
Peonies are in full bloom...cicadas still haven't shown up. Cowards. IL intimidates them. I know it. They're gonna skip right over us and hit Indiana. Ok by me. Nothing more disgusting than the crunch crunch crunch of them under my feet. Ewwwwww...
Was supposed to crop today. I and then on the phone.
And I have 10 great nails...well, 20 if you count my pedicured toes!! I love this time of year: warm enough to be barefoot; not so hot I can't breathe.'s a good day for me.
I hope it was for you too!!