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Showing posts from July, 2007

christmas in july

For my writers group, we are working on an advent book of devotionals. It is hot outside. I sweated through my tshirt before 10 am. I went swimming and added at least a dozen new freckles to the bunch. Back to school supplies line the grocery store aisles, while I sit at my computer and try to think about Christmas.
It is kind of nice actually. Freeing. No presents to buy or cards to address or parties to attend or family commitments. Just Christ’s birth, which is of course everything.


I didn’t let them read 1 Corinthians 13 at my wedding. You know the whole love is patient, love is kind, etc. It seemed too cliché at the time. Everyone reads that one.
Recently I read it for a study I am doing, and I tried to not just run over the familiar words. Love. Agape. The expectations are too great. Who is ALWAYS patient, ALWAYS kind, ALWAYS trusts, ALWAYS hopes, ALWAYS perseveres, NEVER envies or boasts or is proud or rude…..I could go on. There is an obvious Sunday School answer to that question….but it’s not what I am getting at. I love my husband in a way that I know he is home, but I am often proud. I love my son in a way that I don’t think can go away. EVER, but I’m not always patient. I love my friends and family in ways that there isn’t much I wouldn’t do for them, but sometimes I fail them. That is my biggest hang up really. The last, love never fails line. It does. Often. I have learned the hard way, that it is even supposed to. Well, at least the kind with skin on. …

diet..........ughhh....Day 1

ok, so this weekend i was at the beach. the beach has a magical quality of making you want to lay there and soak up sun one minute, but also to get moving the next. hit the waves, go for a walk, throw a frisbee. Maybe it is just all those other skinny people in bathing suits, but regardless of the motivating factor on my first afternoon there I thought I would go for a jog. Anne Lammot ( a kick ass author) wrote an entire chapter in her book Traveling Mercies about being comfortable with her thighs in a bathing suit. She even named them her "aunties". My thighs do not have names and for everyone else's benefits I think I should keep them covered at all times. This means my bathing suits all have cute little skirts or shorts to match. On this particular day I was wearing a cute tropical tankini that came with matching board shorts. So about a half mile down the beach my inner thighs were burning. If you are skinny you have no idea what I am referring to. Your thighs …


1. What’s the one book or writing project you haven’t yet written but still hope to?
some random essays and thoughts that are random, but tangled and make sense as a unit, paid for blogging, some modern day proverbs.

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with?
i rarely i'd just go to barnes and noble, but a coffee and a rice krispie treat and read all the pretty books. there is one out i have my eye on......everything i learned about being a girl i learned from judy blume

3. What was your first writing “instrument” (besides pen and paper)?pretty journals and new pens (ok, that is still pen and paper...but not like big cheif tablets or anythings)

4. What’s your best guess as to how many books you read in a month? school year ( non holiday month) 4-6, summer atleast ten ( 4 this week alone)

5. What’s your favorite writing “machine” you’ve ever owned?“writing machine”? laptop, but i am still partial to a good gel pen and a ne…

birthdays and the beach

Last weekend was my friend tina's birthday party fiesta....complete with pinatas and mojitos. Tomorrow I will be sitting on the beach hopefully with one of these in my hand and mint in my teeth...Here's a recipe ( copy and pasted from the if you want to join me.

3 fresh mint sprigs, 2 tsp sugar, 3 tbsp fresh lime juice, 1 1/2 oz light rum, club soda In a tall thin glass, crush part of the mint with a fork to coat the inside. Add the sugar and lime juice and stir thoroughly. Top with ice. Add rum and mix. Top off with *chilled* club soda (or seltzer). Add a lime slice and the remaining mint, and serve.

who says two is terrible?

This morning, I got plenty of strenuous cardio for way less than the 30$ a month most gyms charge. For the low low price of 3$ and a mandatory pair of socks – I spent a good hour+ chasing a few two year olds around bouncing bonanza ( think an old grocery store filled w/ bounce houses). I’d bet the sweaty pit stains on my white t-shirt that I worked out just as hard as if I’d gone to an aerobics class. This is a pretty normal morning.
Well, change out the bounce house with the park, or swimming, or the science museum, or the zoo, or library story time ( you would think that would be low impact – but chasing my son around and trying to get him to sit on his mat like the rest of the toddlers is enough to get my heart rate up). On good days there is a stop for coffee along the way.
Next comes lunch. Half the time it is shared with friends, the other half it is mac and cheese or pb&j. Turns out I love pb&j and little Debbie even more fiercely than I did in grade school. Then my favor…

sundays once a month

The wafer is easy. Thin and tasteless on my tongue. I do have to try really hard not to bite down or swallow until permission is granted. I know this is important. I try to pray the right things or at least clear my head.
This is my body broken for you.
The juice well, as I see it coming down the aisle to me, I worry that I might drop it.
This is my blood poured out for you.
Grape juice. That small tiny plastic cup is never enough. After my spiritual shot I just want more. I am taken straight back to the 3rd grade. All that is missing is a side of graham crackers.
Sometimes after these Sundays, I go to the store and buy a bottle.
I pour myself a tall glass over ice and it only takes less than an hour for my stomach to cramp. I should stick with wine.

Going Home

I don’t spend much time in my hometown anymore. Most family events ( holidays, birthdays, etc) are at the lake. When I do go back to BCS it seems like a strange place. Like most college towns, it is always under construction. It is weird to have this familiar place be so foreign to me, to have to ask for directions or suggestions of where to go. Even my parent’s house is new. What remains of my old bedroom is in one big brown box somewhere in the corner of the attic. Me and O slept upstairs on the day bed. I slept on the top part, and him on the pull out trundle bed. Most of the first night he kept trying to climb up tome, but by morning he was on the top, and I was on the floor. I’m not sure which remote to use or where to find a fork.
I experienced the same kind of stumbling around with some of my old friends. Some of it was easy enough. Margarita swirls and guacamole makes everything easier. But then there were new boyfriends and jobs and babies to get straight. Someone too…

first ladies

Some first lady trivia……… ( answers after the last ?)

She believed that the deaths of her three children were punishment by God for her husband's involvement in politics.
a. Lucy Hayes b. Helen Taft c. Pat Nixon d. Jane Pierce

She wrote a weekly newspaper column while First Lady.
a. Florence Harding b.Edith Wilson c.Eleanor Roosevelt d.Rosalynn Carter

3. Temperance advocate whose husband, as President, banned liquor from the White House -- leading to this First Lady's new public nickname.
a. Margaret Taylor b.Ida McKinley c.Lucy Hayes d. Angelica VanBure

4.Her first child had a candy bar named for her.
a. Frances Cleveland b.Alice Roosevelt c. Nancy Reagan d.Hillary Clinton

5. She met her future husband at a country club dance, and later said, "I married the first man I ever kissed…."
a. Nancy Reagan b. Barbara Bush c. Hillary Clinton d.Mamie Eisenhower

6. She helped raise funds for Johns Hopkins University Medical School -- on the condition that women be admitted as students.


I used to have a copy of einstein's desk on my desk., with this quote " If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk? " The only problem with that was I could never see it or find it amist my papers to be graded, memos, extra copies and candy wrappers. I don't really think Einstein was promoting messy so much as trying to put it in perspective. Maybe relativity and the dual nature of light ranks a little bit higher than housekeeping. Jesus sided with Mary rather than Martha on this one too. The teacher next door always had a pretty desk. It was perfectly neat. I bet she never lost papers or couldn't find test keys or ran out of copies. Her room either smelled lemony fresh or like bath and body works when she had a candle burning. It always made me envious.
Lately I have been thinknig about how much "stuff" we all seem to accumulate. We have been doing a little rearranging at our house. I moved the guest bed into Owen…

my summer off

My summer saw taught me the art of doing nothing. All this rain has helped too. I tend to be a busy girl. I overbook myself on a regular basis. I am usually tired and off to somewhere else. As a teacher you would think I have it easy during the summer, but they are usually really full. The only 2 exceptions were the summer I married and moved to DFW and the summer I had Owen ( and I worked a bit before he got here). I wouldn't call either of those relaxing. Usually, I have summer school ( teaching or taking or sometimes both), random jobs ( bath and body works and tutoring) and sign up for silly classes for owen. Last summer I taught bits of summer school, an SAT prep class, cleaned out the chemical stock room and labs at school, ran a fish camp and carted Owen off swim lessons, little gym, physical therapy and play dates. This summer the stars aligned and I didn’t have anything planned. I didn't sign O up for anything. I am changing jobs, so for once I don’t have to pla…

one word

My friend Tina's daughter, Maddy, has a unique habit. She picks one word that she associates with you after each visit. She is not quite 2 so maybe one word is all she can handle. You are then "Fun Michelle" or "Happy Jodi" until you see her again and then you are given a new word. Owen and her hang out alot and I can tell alot about thier visit from the word she chooses. We have been "Owen NO NO", "Owen share", "Owie Swim" , "fun Owie" and my personal favorite "Owen friend". I wonder if people had to choose one word to sum up our experience after each interaction, what it would be. Sometimes, I am afraid I would be "tired Michelle" or "stressed Michelle" or "busy Michelle" or something worse. I would hope for "Michelle friend" or "Michelle laugh" or nice or wise or caring....things like that. The best word, the one we are all called to be, and the one that I don…

goodnight moon

The house is eerily quiet. Owen is at his grandmother’s house for a couple of days. We are eating dinner in the living room, drinking wine and shaun is watching soccer on the Spanish channel. Not an untypical evening for us, minus the wine and I try to eat dinner at the table most nights. There is no little boy running circles around the couch, pulling the cat’s tail or throwing a fit until he gets ice cream. Me and Shaun have plans to play a game and go to a movie after dinner……..that is definitely an abnormality. It is weird to think that this used to be normal. There are conviences of course, for example I haven’t had to look at milk, cartoons, or diapers in 24 hours. I didn’t have to re-read the same book 5 times. I went somewhere for lunch that doesn’t have a kids menu. I wandered around B&N for an hour uninterrupted. I slept until an astonishing 9:15 this morning…..but tonight there will be no one to tickle or tuck in or read stories to. It is a very uneven trade.

Big Boy Bed

So we have decided ( more like he decided) to move Owen up to a real bed. So after a trip to Ikea and Target … Tuesday he snuggled in for a night’s sleep sans bars. At 4:30 a.m. I hear little tiny feet padding down the hall. I know what I should do. This is the beginning of the education process and I should take him immediately back to his bed, snuggle with him for a second and leave him on his own. However, like I mentioned, it is 4:30 am. The good parenting can start tomorrow. So I quickly scoop him up and place him in between me and Shaun. Within seconds his breathing relaxes and he goes back to sleep. I realize I really need to pee, and I might as well take him back to bed while I am up. At 6:17 am, a little crash and lots of crying. Owen fell off his big boy bed onto his legos below. Stepping on legos hurts like hell I can’t imagine falling onto them from a early morning stupor. Shaun, who should be getting up for work soon anyways goes off to rescue him. Still screaming, Ow…

tall nonfat one pump caramel machiatto -June 27

tall nonfat one pump caramel machiatto
That is my typical starbucks order: I think there is some kind of contest at Starbucks to see who has the longest order. Sometimes I go a little plainer w/ a nonfat raspberry latte or if I need something cold or it is a bad stomach day any of the iced teas ( black is my favorite, but the green and passionfruit are also super great) sweetened. I never brew my own. I never get it right, but at work I add half a splenda and plenty of creamer – preferably flavored to whatever is in the pot. My dad always took his with exactly 2 sugar cubes.
My love for coffee started when I was probably about 10 and it was biblical. Our Sunday school class always let out before my parents. All the kids would impatiently wait outside and rush in after the last prayer. We all made a beeline for the back right corner of the room……..just hoping that someone had brought donuts. For some reason, I also started pouring myslef a cup of coffee while the grown ups chatted and ch…

the other ranch- June 26

the other ranch

In my circles the ranch, always meant camp. Mo Ranch and where I spent most of my summers from ages 11-21. I haven't dedicated much writing to this place because it is one of the few things in my life that seems to be too big to tackle on paper. It is where I learned about friendship and family and first kisses ( well thanks to camp stewart dances) about being real and sharing a bathroom with 20 other girls, the importance of mail, my love for the late night conversation, the non-necessity of a hair dryer, that maybe jumping off a bridge isn't the best idea, some of my best practical jokes, that there is all kinds of grey, that sometimes it really hurts to send them home and lots lots more. Shaun has another ranch. One that he has spent almost as much time at, but in Colorado. There he learned to flyfish, how to sneak up on some elk, how to make gorp, how to clean a fish, just how much water a jeep can actually drive through. They are both beautiful: the Texas …

I am - June 22

That is what God told Moses (exodus 3:14)……..and I think it sums it up. That word am has to be one of the most important in the English language. You might argue that "is" and "are" are equally important. I disagree. Is is not personal. It is how someone else introduces you. Are is how you talk about someone else. Am is how you describe yourself. Obviously God did not feel the need to finish the sentence because He is everything. Everything good at least.I am also a lot of things……although my resume is not as all inclusive as God's but I am…… a lot of things. A mother, a wife, a child, a teacher, a friend, a sister, an aunt…you get the idea. Most of those are easy to say because they don't require any desire. I was born, making me a child. I got married making me a wife. I get paid to be a teacher. Don't get the wrong idea – they all take skill and work….but these are easy ones to admit and accept. There are some damaging I ams out there that I have lea…

Mile Markers - May 21

the first major purchase me and shaun made as grown ups was my car. a 2001 Xterra. When we bought it we were newlyweds. new to the city in our little duplex on Cooper and I-20. I have a long history of being hard on cars....
when i was 16 my parents bought me a car. a nice boring 1990 2 door black grand am. not exactly cool, but relativiely reliable. it overheated just often enough to scare me into not driving places i wasnt supposed to be. I drove a little bit too fast with the windows down and bad rap music blaring. A few days before graduation and 2 weeks shy of my 18th birthday it died on the feeder road on Hwy 6. Right in front of the Dairy Queen I worked at. I didn't think much of it. Used cars are supposed to break down. My dad called the next day and informed me that I blew the engine. I am not 100% sure what that means but i do know that we had to put it down.
For my 18th birthday and my graduation I got an equally boring car. A 1992 grey Taurus...or what I like to refer …

chin hickey - May 15

while i was in chicago and waiting for a train, this cute asian teenager walks past with a small dark mark slightly under her chin. i would know that trademark anywhere -- even if she didn't have a rectangular case strapped to her back. no i don't think she had been necking. i think she spends hours alone. well not completely alone. her and her violin. etudes and concertos and minuets. i used to be able to do that. i used to have a small pock mark on my neck that would occasionally be mistaken for a hickey.... but it was just a small light one that would fade within a few hours. one like hers took several hundred hours to earn. it is a badge. like caluses to a guitar player or gear scars to a mountain biker. playing the violin was never cool and i am not sure whatever possessed me to take it up. my family was musical. i mean we never stood around the piano and sang songs or anything.......but my pawpaw used to be a band director, my mom at some point taught piano lessons and m…

New Shoes - May 9 2007

I was walking down the street in Chicago, a late 20 something man and woman walked out of an office building. Obviously just off work. She had on a boring tan business suit and then you look down and see these very cool slip on tennis shoes w/ a fun print. I am in awe. Just by a quick glance at her feet, I think she is cool. I would want to be her friend….well you know if she wasn't just some random girl on the street. And then I had dinner and forgot about her.
The next morning I was strolling down Michigan avenue and see those same amazing shoes in the window at Payless. Yes, Payless. The magnificent mile in Chicago is known for its exclusive shopping w/ places like Hermes, Cartier and Tiffany – and I want something form Payless. I quickly go in, find them in my size and slip them on even leaving the store. Suddenly I have this moment where I think my new 17$ shoes are my destiny. That they will make me as cool as the cool as the girl in the beige suit and they will give me purpo…