Thursday, June 26, 2008

Welcome to the World!

Just a quick note -- My friend Joanna, whose wedding I posted pictures of back in September, just had her baby on Tuesday!

Emmett was born at 8:40 a.m. and was 8 lbs, 7 ozs. I've seen pictures and he's really cute!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oh no, we knew this would happen one day

Hal and I have a little tradition.

Every time we go to Target, we walk around and make our way to the back of the store where we stare forlornly at the spot which is supposed to hold the Wii game consoles. They never have any Wiis, of course.

So last night, we walked into Target (sale on Fiber One bars, score!) and Hal says to me, "You know, what happens when we one day come in here and they actually have a Wii."

As we go to Target at night, so after a long day of everyone else gobbling up the Wiis that may have come in, I replied, "Well, then we have to get it!"

We walk back to the electronics. (You totally know where this is going.)

And there one sits.

At first we didn't believe it. We thought it was a big game. Or something. Finally, Hal bends down and looks at it.

"That's a Wii, Stace," he says.

So we have to get it.

And now we have a Wii.

Just what we need. :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A weekend of tasty treats

This is the first weekend we have been in Bloomington since April.

I know how sad that is. We have been incredibly busy running back and forth between here and Cincinnati. I will not have a weekend in Bloomington again until, well, I'll get back from camp on July 19, so I'll be here for that Saturday and Sunday.

But this was a great weekend to be in town! Bloomington has the fabulous Farmer's Market every Saturday, and this Saturday the town also held the Taste of Bloomington.

At the Farmer's Market, Hal and I became the proud owners of 2 types of locally produced honey, and (drum roll) ELK PATTIES. Apparently a local farm raises Elk and they always offer some of their meat at the Market. We wound up with the patties because they were the second cheapest thing. Tomorrow night, we make Elk. I will take pictures to fully document the occasion.

After the Farmer's Market, we lazed around (read: napped) and then headed up for more food goodness. Bloomington's Taste of Bloomington is an event where local restaurants set up booths and sell certain offerings for a couple of dollars. The price of admission goes to a local charity.

While at the Taste, Hal and I met up with friends Laura and Ned. Hal and I had been munching around before we met Laura and Ned, but we pretended like we hadn't eaten anything yet so we could sample more food. :) We ended up trying a huge assortment of things, including, but not limited to, gyros, baklava, pad thai, italian ice, sugar free ice cream, and cheese pizza. What a fabulous event.

To round out Saturday night, Hal and I went to see Prince Caspian at the movie theater. What a packed day!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The tragically leaning senior

Angela: I just like how he's always leaning. Against stuff. He leans great.

(from "My So-Called Life")

The other day I was struck by a memory of high school. A silly and sweet memory that I will now share with you.

I spent the first two years in high school crammed into a too-small building with my classmates. The school opened new facilities for my junior and senior years, and the old building is now used by my parish's middle school (the grade school is in the old middle school building, and the parish offices are in the old grade school building).

The space restrictions of our school building meant we had to compromise on many things. We often had to walk across the parking lot to get to classrooms stashed in empty rooms in the basement or community center, so we always carried our backpacks (which were not clear, by the way, nor do they have to be now, but they have to stay in the lockers). We also had to carry our backpacks because of another reason.

We shared lockers.

Yes, little skinny lockers. There were two of us to a locker, and sometimes the school threw three people to a locker, I think.

Anyway, sophomore year, I was sharing a locker with Jenny M. (assigned alphabetically), which was great because we got along famously. Our locker was at the end of a bank of lockers that was next to classroom 107 (I think). Jenny and I were so enamored by our status as locker partners that we referred to each other as "locker partner." We did this all through high school, even when we moved schools and didn't have to share a locker anymore.

As we went through the year we noticed that one of the hot seniors had his homeroom next to our locker. He had all the aspects of a great senior boy crush -- super cute, and, well, that's about all we knew about him. (I'm sure we knew more, but it has been a long time since I've thought of this!) The crush that meant you didn't necessarily want to go out with him, but just looking at him was good enough.

Because he was a senior boy and therefore tired constantly, he started to take to leaning against the side of our locker before homeroom started. It should be noted that our homeroom met (and still meets) after 3rd period, so about 10:15 or so. He would hang out in the hallway with a bunch of his friends.

We took to calling him "the tragically leaning senior." I'm sure you know the look. The lackadaisical, devil may care look. He never seemed too happy, but always so temptingly "tragic." Now, I think we confused tragic with "tired," but hindsight, you know? He became part of our school day -- is he going to be standing against our locker today? Guys, I saw the tragically leaning senior today, he looked so cute.

One day, the day I remembered, Jenny and I both arrived to our locker at the end of the school day to find the tragically leaning senior leaning -gasp- against THE FRONT of our locker! He was literally blocking the access to our locker with his slim and cute frame! He was surrounded by friends! He was so hot!

Jenny and I were both speechless.

We should have stayed that way.

We looked at each other, in front of all these popular and cute senior boys, and exclaimed, exactly at the same time, "LOCKER PARTNER!" Those two words summed up everything about the monumental occasion. At least, they did to us. Looking back, and even looking back approximately 10 seconds after it happened, we realized how silly we sounded.

Soon after hearing our silly, sophomoric outburst, the tragically leaning senior and his friends disbursed, allowing us to access our locker.

And laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

It was a thing of legend. A wonderful day. "Can you believe we yelled 'Locker Partner'?" "He was leaning against THE FRONT OF OUR LOCKER!"

I'm not sure if he ever leaned against the front of our locker again. Once was probably enough for him, realizing that he had stumbled onto the locker of two sophomore lunatics.

But him thinking we were lunatics was worth the one, silly, legendary time we arrived to be dumbfounded by the tragically leaning senior leaning on our locker. I smiled when I happened to think about that day, the expressions on our faces as we looked, wide-eyed, at the object of our "affection."

I love those silly moments of high school. I had millions of them. It's funny the things you remember.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

All aboard!

We had a nice and relaxing Father's Day -- church with the fam, my cousin Joey's graduation party, time at the pool and dinner with my family and my aunt and uncle's family (they live down the street from my parents).

While sitting around during dinner, we jokingly started talking about where we were going to take our next trip. My sister says, "I'll plan it for us. I'll be the travel agent."

She whips out our computer. Lots of conversation later, we have picked a cruise.

We're booking tomorrow.

It's always an adventure at home! This particular cruise is not leaving until July of '09, but I'm super excited because my grandparents, my family, and my aunt and uncle's family is going. I wish Donnie could be there, but I think he will be in equally warm climates. We've already mentioned perhaps going on a trip when he gets home for good, though! :)

We'll be heading to Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan Island, Honduras. It's going to be a good one.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


When I was a kid, I loved going to the library.

I love to read. My parents say that even as a kid I would walk around with a book in front of my face, running into walls.

I remember the first time I could read the Howard Johnson sign that was always lit up by our expressway exit. I was little and I remember that moment being so exciting for me. Reading was so important for me and I constantly read.

Luckily, my parents never really regulated what I read. I read most everything I could get my hands on.

I threw away my reading log from the 8th grade not too long ago (It should be noted that I'm a huge pack rat and maybe one day I will post excepts from my most favorite love letters --- or maybe not). Anyway, I had kept this reading journal we had as an assignment. This reading journal still ranks as one of my favorite assignments of all time. We had to write a letter to someone in our class every week about what we were reading. They had to respond within a certain time period. We also had to write to the teacher every so often. I know it was more complicated than that, but that's the main gist. It was fun to see all the inside jokes we were able to slip into our short reading letters, and also it was always fun to look back on the reading log, a list stapled into our journal of the books we read and how long they were.

I worked through a Michael Creighton period in the 8th grade. The Client and Disclosure were
both on my reading list. I also worked through a series about dragons that I also adored. I read The Hot Zone, a story about Ebola in Africa. The book freaked me out so bad, I stopped writing to my Ugandan pen pal soon afterward (I'm sorry!). The girls in my class devoured books by "Anonymous," often diaries of teenagers who ended up dead through their misdeeds -- witchcraft, drugs, etc. I read a bunch of Caroline B. Cooney books, mostly because my 6th grade teacher wouldn't let us order them from the scholastic book catalog.

Remember those Book Clubs? Did you have them in your grade school? About once a month we were able to order books and sometimes posters and stuff from a small catalog. It was always so much fun to me. Do they still do that these days? I still have some of my books from this time period.

Anyway, I loved going to the library. I would pick up a ton of books, read them all, and take them back, dog willing. I say dog willing because my dog Halley had me pay for at least one book over the years after she ate the cover of the Sweet Valley High Jungle Prom book (Oh no, Elizabeth gets drunk b/c Jessica spiked her drink so Jessica would win prom queen! Elizabeth drives off with Jessica's boyfriend. And we all know what happens to those who get in a car with a soused Elizabeth). I spent many hours at the library.

The point of the post is this: I have rediscovered the library.

It literally takes me five minutes to drive there. I pick up all sorts of chick lit and I have had a fantastic, reading-filled summer. I've even revisited my youth a bit, enjoyed some Judy Blume. I am working up my courage to go down to the juvenile section and pick up a book that my fifth grade teacher (in the only good thing she ever did for our class) read to us -- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I remember being so enchanted by this story but I have never read it myself.

It's amazing to have spent so many years away from the library only to come back and pick right back up where I left off. I apparently even lost my little card on my keychain the other day, and you know what? Someone RETURNED it to the library! Without checking out all sorts of inappropriate things or ruining my internet access because of looking up inappropriate things! Isn't that nice?

So I'm officially pro-library. I will now get off my soapbox and put on my "dork" hat. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Whoa -- an update!

I have grand designs.

On June 3rd, for example, I was going to wax poetic about my anniversary. Hal and I have been married for 2 years. We've made a 120 mile move and sold a house in a terrible market, been through a year of graduate school and 2 tax seasons and survived the priest abuse coding of 2008. We celebrated by going out to a very nice dinner at a local restaurant called Truffles here in Bloomington. I had Salmon and a martini. He had lamb and a imported beer from Bavaria. We shared brie and then went home to a VERY CHOCOLATE cake we bought from a local baker (2 layers -- one chocolate with chocolate chips, the other chocolate amarretto and raspberry in the middle, with chocolate icing, holy cow, what a rich treat!). It was very nice and sure beat our first anniversary, which was spent driving to Wisconsin for a funeral (I want to be clear here that we wouldn't have missed the funeral for the world and we have no bitterness at going on our anniversary, but, you know, it's not fun!)

While I was in Florida, I was going to give updates of kayaking, dog racing, food with Dad, and our Prius rental. Of course, we were having so much fun actually experiencing those things!

Also while I was in Florida, I was going to write about how I received the news that my paper was indeed accepted for presentation at the national conference in Chicago! This is very exciting news and I have now the whole summer to work myself up to an anxious mess. I will presenting on a panel with other, like-minded papers, all about framing, religion, and media. It should be highly entertaining.

Of course, none of this has gotten done. I have been slightly neglectful. I am fortified by the mothers on my blogroll who have a mess of children and are able to update EVERY DAY! How will I ever be able to balance life and kids?! I can't balance life and a dog! It truly is inspiring.

Tomorrow I will write more. I swear.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

No Sluts?

While driving through Bloomington yesterday, we saw a house with a "Rooms for Rent" sign in front of it. In a college town, this is not unusual.

What was unusual about this particular sign, however, was that underneath the words "Rooms for Rent" were the words "No Sluts."

I think that perhaps this particular requirement violates the Fair Housing Act, which I believe requires people to not discriminate when renting or selling property. Very odd.

Also, how does one prove she or he is or isn't a slut upon applying to this particular home? I'm afraid to know.

I really wish I took a picture.