Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I have this annoying habit that when I come across another blogger or Twitter account and I see the name 'Heather' pop up, I immediately follow them. 

Why you may ask yourself?  Why, Heather?  Why you follow other Heathers?

I dunno.

Growing up, there was another Heather in my class and as it was the 70's when we were born, I was quite surprised that there weren't more Heathers, per se, but it is Iowa and I don't think Iowa was big on the 70's scene too much.  Unless you count getting high and having a kegger in the middle of a cornfield.  I did neither of those, thank you very much.   Wait.  I did attend a kegger in a cornfield.  Hasn't everyone?  No?  Well, I'll tell you about it:  There's corn, there's beer, and there's a fire.  It's a lot like Footloose without the cool musics.  Or Kevin Bacon.

Where was I?  Oh yes, Heathers.

Anyway, there were two of us in my class growing up and we didn't run into any problems with this until my junior year where we were both taking the same Psychology of Self class (ten points to Gryffindor for actually remembering the name of this class) and our teacher said that one of us had to have a fake name because he didn't want to call out 'Heather' and have both of us look up.  I'm sure I could go into how detrimental this was for my 15-16 year old self and the psychology of it all, but who was I to argue?  For the rest of that semester I had to hand in my homework and answer to the name Mabel.  (I just Googled the name meaning.  It means 'Lovely or Dear'.  HAHAHA - Obviously so not me.)  Seriously.  Those little turds - and by turds I mean the boys in my class - had named me Mabel.  Insert me rolling my eyes...still. 

I never thought I would be pissed off about not answering to Heather anymore.  I mean for the better part of my life I had wanted another name, any name, but I think all kids go through that phase.  And some at the age of 18 decide to go ahead and change it up.  Not me.  I kept mine.  Well, till I got married, but that's my last name and that, my friends, is another story altogether. 

But, at that point, I missed being me.  I missed being Heather.  I'd have even settled for the 'other Heather' at that point.  The other white meat.  Something other than Mabel. 

If nothing else, that class taught me to kinda like my name. 

And there are times when I run across other Heathers and part of me wants to pull them aside and ask if they'd ever wanted to denounce their name or if it plagued them to not have a normal name like Lisa or April or Susan.  But, I figure it's just best to let that one be.  People think I'm odd enough without asking these things. 

I mean when I was growing up I wanted to be a combo Pocahontas/Laura Ingalls Wilder with the name Lisa.  I was a strange kid obviously.  I would set up my little pup tent, head on out in the yard with my sleeping bag, a slew of books and every once in awhile I would take my rabbit, Oreo, out of her cage and drag her into the tent, too.  We were on the Dakota plains and we were Native Americans. 

See?  This was my thought process.

And that rabbit peed on my copy of A Wrinkle in Time.

Do I still have it?

Yup.  Pee-stained and all.  It's still on my book shelf.

Gawd, I've veered way off track again.

So, I'm not Lisa, April or Susan.

As long as I'm not Mabel either, I'm all good.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday, Monday....

Let's be honest, shall we?  Mondays suck. 

Why?  I don't know. 

Maybe it's a society-driven misconception that it's bad to start a new week where we're doing nothing but running to and fro, here and there, trailing after our short people (whether they be our children or our show rabbits) and it's like our asses are on fire with very little to put out the proverbial flame.  It's not like they  make medicated TUCKS to soothe our overloaded schedules.  The world would have you going mach four with your hair on fire if it had it's way about things.  And then we reach Wednesday and we're all 'DEAR GOD, we're HALFWAY through.' or some such nonsense and then Sunday rolls around again and here we are, hating on Monday.

While I hate the beginning of the work week because I have to leave my little hodgepodge of a nest (I liken our home to the Weasley's Burrow....if you don't know what this means, please to be Googling) to venture out into that great big wide world, there are things to be happy for. 

I know you're wondering what.  What, Heather?  What have we got to be so danged happy about on a Monday?

Well, I could give you the broad generalizations of things to be thankful for such as your health, your children, the fact that the sun is shining, etc, etc, ad naseum, but I won't.  Instead, I'll share a few of my random thoughts that I've had so far this morning (aka things that have made me smile):

1.  Listening to One Direction in the car.  You have to be a special brand of a-hole to not smile at these silly fluffer nutters running around singing.  They're adorable.  Admit it.

2.  The Cambus drivers being adorable to each other over the radio this morning.  Seriously.  There was a love fest going on.

3.  The lady with the Raspberry Beret.

4.  Frost.  It means Fall is in the air.  Which means falling leaves, pumpkins, Pumpkin Spice Latte's (I've had three already this season), Halloween, costumes, hoodies, sweaters, boots, and scarves.

4b.  The best thing about Fall apparel:  It covers up all the lumps, bumps, and muffin tops.  I love this season.

5.  Ground squirrels running through the underbrush.  Those little guys always make me grin.

6.  Mums.  Crysanthemums are the flowers of Fall and our local FFA Chapter still has some for sale.  I really need to get on this.  Maybe this upcoming payday.

7.  Apples.  It's the time of year for apple crisp and apple cider.

8.  Bonfires.  Who doesn't love a bonfire?  Crazy people, that's who. 

9.  Pumpkins.  I don't mean the variety you carve, I mean those marshmallow creme things that come in a pack of candy corn.  My family always - I repeat ALWAYS - picks out the pumpkins first and then eats the candy corn.  Sadists.

10.  Books.  Through our local library you can download audiobooks and copies of books for your kindle to rent for two weeks on a program called Neibors.  Check into it.  I got into a Nora Ephron book this weekend that made me literally laugh out loud.  She is the queen of essays. 

So, let's hear something you're enjoying today.  Whether it be something as small as being able to go to the bathroom by yourself (don't mock - I was able to take a bath uninterrupted last night and it was like I was at a spa, I swear) or that you got the keys to your new house.  Big or small, it's all good.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

...and I can breathe in a small town...

It's recently come to my notice, that no matter how much I admire women who can pull off looking amazing and put together, I'm never going to be one of them. 

I'm always gonna feel the most comfy in flats.

I'm more earth tones.


I'm denim. 


I'm more apt to use a Ball Jar for a vase than Waterford Crystal.


I drink my wine out of a wide-mouthed ball jar instead of a wine glass.

I'm more comfy at roasting marshmallows over a fire than at a soiree with place cards and canapes.


I love the fact that the Homecoming Queen is from down the road.

I love that when my babies walk home, they know the people that live in every house along their route.


I'm more lilacs than roses.

I'm more Marengo than Milan.

And today, I'm more okay with that than I've ever been.

I'm just a Small Town Girl. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Internet Etiquette 101

Over the past few weeks I've had some extensive conversations with my hubby about the internet.  You could say he's a newbie where all of this is concerned.  So, of course, he was pretty unprepared for what goes down in groups/forums/online.  In other words, he got introduced to 'those' people.

You know who I'm talking about.  If you've been on the internet longer than fifteen minutes you've, more than likely, met someone who chaps your butt.

They know everything there is to know about everything and have no compunction about telling you A. Their life story, B. Why you're wrong in every single way, and C. That their kids/coon dog/show rabbits are ten times better than yours.

So before you run screaming from your laptop/netbook/PC, give it a second or three.  Take a deep breath.

Sit back and listen to your Crazy Aunt Heather.  She might have a bit of wisdom or two.  (and Yes, you probably will find out my life story but you're probably more right than I am and I never raised show rabbits, thankfully.)

Around the time after Sadie was born I wandered into the great big wide internets and found the world of fanfiction.  Most of you should be familiar with it as you've read 50 Shades of Grey.  The author, as my understanding, had originally wrote the story around Twilight's lead characters of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. That's right.  They originally wrote a whole story around those two characters creating what us fanficc'ers call an 'Alternate Universe'.

Well, back in the day, the fic that I waded into was Harry Potter.  There was an epic fic entitled 'After the End' that was published before the fifth book in the Harry Potter series had been published.  But, this story took place in Harry's world after the battle for Hogwarts.  I know for some of you I'm speaking absolute gibberish, but bear with.

So, I've read this long and epic and amazing story and lo and behold there is a forum for folks that have read this story.  And there are more stories.  And more.  And more.

With great trepidation, I registered on this forum as prplhez.  Now, for those of you not aware of where 'Hez' came from, there it is.  My hubby, bless his soul, nicknames everyone.  And early in our relationship he used to sing to me 'Purple haze all around my brain...." (Yes, my fave color is purple...durrr)  Get it now?

Anycrap, my very first post on those forums came in the 'Divine Mums' thread.  I posted with a shaking finger on my mouse and sat back and waited for either everyone to ignore me or for them to tell me to get the hell off and please to be giving back my internet license.  They did neither.  I actually got honest, caring, and thoughtful responses.

I was and still am a member of that website although it has been frozen in time as much of the interest in Harry Potter has gone by the wayside after the last book was published and the last movie shown.

Thankfully, I've had another online journal that I've used on and off for eight years.  Yup, eight years.  In that time, I've friended and been befriended by some pretty amazing women.  These women that I've come to know over time have been there during all of life's little moments that have gone on in my life during these long years.  They sent me hand-crocheted booties and hats when we had Jude.  I had a virtual online baby shower when she was born.  They've also been that voice on the other end of the phone.  I've heard them holler at their kids or significant others.  I've been there for their heart breaks, for everything that goes along with life in general.  And they, mine.

I can honestly say that there were moments I wouldn't have gotten through without them.

Now, with all of the good comes some bad, too.

There are 'those' people.

And with 'those' people, I've learned some life lessons and some lessons about me.

So, without any ado, here are some 'rules' for the internet:

1.  Don't be a dick.  You know you're being one.  Don't do it.

2.  Be kind and err on the side of caution.  Reread your post.  And then read it again.

3.  Don't fight with idiots.  They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience every single time.

4.  Be nice.  It doesn't cost you anything to be kind.

5.  Sometimes it's just best to get up and walk away.  No one will call you a chicken shit and if they do, screw 'em.  Are they someone you wanna play with?  No.  Grab your pail and shovel and find a different sand box for the time being.

6.  Be true.  No one likes a liar.  And trust me, someone will always find out your business anyway.

7.  Like in life, less is more.  You don't have to be the danged prom king/queen.

8.  There will be those one or four people who are totally cool and are the 'big name fans' and when they friend you, it's totally okay to do an internal squee/minor jig.  Some of them will be cooler than you originally thought and some will be epic douches.

9.  You will meet some of these folks in real life and some are amazing, some not so much.  It's life. 

10.  Keep in mind that your experience will be what you make of it.  The Golden Rule applies here too, kiddos.

and lastly:  Don't be a dick.  Include people.  Engage folks in honest conversation.  Everyone is bringing something valuable to the table.  It's all in how you are going to view it and whether they bring positive or negative, it's still your experience. 

And in true geek fashion I will sign off with what Peter Parker's Uncle Ben once uttered:  With great power comes great responsibility. 

(or was it Yoda? IDEK)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Alliteration in the Afternoon...

Or why it's fun to mess with words.

Or not.

If you follow me (aka Chez Hez Blogspot) on facebook, you'll know that I've been down for the past two days with a bitchin' migraine.  If you don't follow me on facebook, you might wanna.  Really.  It's fun.  And between you and me, it's fun to see how much of an ass I can make of myself on all of the social mediums that I frequent. 

But, back to the migraine at hand. 

Yeah, obnoxious migraine = Hez down for two days, sleeping, drooling, and The X-Files going on so very quietly in the background.  Honestly, I can tell you that I hate being debilitated in any sort of capacity but there's something pretty awful about being able to do nothing but sleep. 

I really hate it a lot.

So, I'll be back to the doctor again soon to see if we can readjust my meds.  Actually, to be honest, I'm going to get a second opinion.  I'll keep y'all posted.

Now, for the second half of my post.  I was drawing a blank again today on what I should write about.  My friend, C, gave me a list of riotous topics.  One immediately caught my eye. 

The top Five Rom-Com Movies NOT starring Tom Hanks.

After much deliberation (aka me looking on IMDB for five minutes), I've compiled a list.  And it stands as thus (these are my picks and my choices - I don't expect anyone to understand the madness):

5.  Can't Buy Me Love - OH WOW.  This MOVIE.  During my teen years I watched this movie over and over and over and over.  It stars a pubescent Patrick Dempsy (before he was McDreamy, ladies) who maintains popular girl Amanda Peterson's lawn (not a euphemism, pervs).  Sick and tired of being the nerd, Dempsy's character hires Peterson's character to make him 'popular'.  As they grow closer through their mutual scheme, they find it more and more difficult to draw the line between fake dating and actual dating.  This movie is so super cute and just allowed that fifteen-year-old small town girl to believe that there were good guys out there. 

4.  Serendipity - HA.  Y'all didn't think I would make up this list without a John Cusack movie in it, right?  He's one of my fake boyfriends.  I'll introduce you to the rest of the harem another day.  But he's in there.  Okay, so Jonathan Trager (aka Cusack) meets this mystery girl during just an ordinary day in his life in New York (played by the lovely and effervescent Kate Beckinsale.  I'd love to hate her, but I can't).  Jonathan wants to pursue her, wants her number but instead she writes her number inside of a book - "Love in the time of Cholera" (I didn't even google that. If I'm wrong, don't tell me) - and promptly donates it, saying that if it was meant to be, he'll find the book.  Fast forward to right before Jonathan's wedding and as a gift from his lovely bride-to-be, a book.  Love in the Time of Cholera.  Opening the book, there sits mystery girl's number.  And so it begins.  I will also say this, Jonathan's best friend is played by the talented Jeremy Piven who for a living, in the film, is an obituary writer.  During one point of the movie, Jeremy's character writes an 'obit' for his best friend.  It's so heart-warming and funny and perfect....I just...yeah, I can't even.

3.  Sweet Home Alabama - This is one of the very few movies (Rom-Coms) that my hubby and I will agree on.  I don't know if it's because of all the redneck-ness in there with half of the movie taking place in the South or because my hubby wants to see the two blood hounds in the movie (appropriately named Bear and Bryant).  This movie again stars Patrick Dempsey; although, this time he is alongside Reese Witherspoon.  Josh Lucas finishes out the love triangle.  Reese's character is a budding fashion designer who has just been newly engaged to Dempsey's character (a senator's son).  Years before, Witherspoon had married Josh Lucas's character and somehow over the years, had never seen fit to get divorced.  Off she goes to the South to remedy the situation.  Shenanigans ensue.  Seriously, one of the best things about this whole movie:  Both of the leading men are good guys.  It's impossible to know who to root for.  But, IMHO, it turns out just fine in the end.

2.  The Wedding Singer - Okay, if you haven't seen this homage to the 80's you are dead to me.  Just kidding.  Only a little.  Slightly.  This movie is what got the Adam Sandler- Drew Barrymore train rolling.  These two have hilarious comedic timing and a fun chemistry that's pretty difficult to beat.  Sandler's character has recently been dumping by the trampy Linda who wants more out of life than to marry a Wedding Singer.  While Barrymore's character is on her way to the altar with Miami Vice wannabe, Glen.  Through mutual acquaintances, these two become friends and then finally something more.  The soundtrack is amazing and with Billy Idol in a cameo appearance, how could it go wrong?

1.  Love Actually.  I cannot, literally cannot break down all of the plot lines in Love Actually.  It has an epic ensemble cast and it takes place in London a few weeks before Christmas.  All of the story lines are interwoven to reveal Love and/or Heartbreak for every member of the cast by Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.  The comedy in here is mostly through Bill Nighy who plays a washed up rock 'n roller who is spending Christmas with his 'Fat Manager' and utters one of the best lines ever:  "Let's get pissed and watch porn."  Seriously.  But the romantic part of this movie, one of the best lines of the movie, isn't even spoken.  When you get to it, you'll know.  I'll give you a hint:  To me, you are perfect.  Go watch.  Now.  It'll get you in the mood for the holidays.

Okay, that's my ten cents for today.  I hope all of you made it over the mid-week hump just fine and are back after things bright and early. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Keeping it Real....

I didn't grow up in a household that 'hunts'.

Nor did I grow up in a house that ate deer meat (aka venison) unless it was we call ring bologna.  So, when I started dating my guy, it was a bit of a shock to my delicate city girl sensibilities.

Haha, yeah, I'm about as delicate as an anvil you think.

But one of our first 'dates' was a hunting excursion in a picked bean field that ended with my husband harvesting one of the biggest antlered deer of his life.  I vaguely remember helping Kenny load up that deer - because I wanted to be cool - and about hurfing into my elbow, but I did 'er.  Although, if you ask Kenny today, he might tell you I was a very pretty particular shade of green.

It took me years to get the hang of hunting, and I even took a spin behind the gun - albeit after I passed a hunter's safety course - and it just wasn't for me.

And to keep it real, I've rarely shared any of this during my online life of over eight years.  Why?  Because in a lot of places, this isn't socially acceptable.

It's like talking religion and politics (I believe in God for the record and it's my business the way I vote).

But, this is part of my yearly life.  Whether it be bowhunting, muzzleloader, or plain old-fashioned shotgun, this is a part of my life.

Every year, we grind up deer meet and stock up the freezer and/or drag out the canning jars and spend a couple days in the kitchen with a pressure canner, stocking up our pantry with ball jars full of deer meat.

These days feel a bit like the olden-times, I admit.  A lot of times, we've spent those days with other folks in our kitchen, children running in and out of the rooms in our small home, and people talking over each other, men sharing stories, and women catching up with their daily lives and trials that go along with being the Momma or the wife or little Suzie or Jimmy not passing algebra this year.

There's a community in those hunters. 

They often drag boats out in the middle of the winter, freezing and cold, tramping up and down sandbars.

Do I think they're crazy for this?

You bet your ass, I do.  But, it's their thing.

It's a family thing, too.  

I've watched three out of four of my children go out in the mornings and evenings in South-Central Iowa to sit with my hubby in a deer blind and wait for them to come home in the bleary darkness with a harvest or not.

I have deer heads mounted on my living room wall.  Why?  Because it's important to my hubby.  I mean the little buggers are hard as hell to decorate around, no lie, but it's important to him ergo it's important to me.

Do I love sinks full of deer meat?  Sure.  It's all about the bottom line for me.  It stocks our freezer, it cuts down on people hitting deer, and it thins out an overpopulated herd.

We have many a lively discussion in our house about hunting and trapping because obviously not everyone agrees with this way of life.  But, it's our life.  This is my life.

So, for the next few months until Christmas, this will be my life:  Pressure canners, ball jars, meat grinders, and camo and safety orange. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Secondhand Love

"I love your sweater. Where'd you get it?"

"The Gap."


That's a conversation I heard on Glee last night.  And as much as we all know how much I love Glee, this got my little brain thinking away. 

I've always been very up front about my love of all things thrifty/goodwill/yard sale-esque, etc, and have never ever wanted to deny where I got my sweater for pete's sakes.  Seriously?  There are better things in life to fib about.  Like my weight, for instance.  But, that's a subject best left for another discussion or post. 

This episode got me thinking about all of the second hand items in my life. 

I'm not only surrounded by furniture and glass wear that is second hand, thrifted, or garage-saled, but the better part of my life has been 'second hand' for lack of a better word. 

Growing up, as I did, with my grandparents gave me that one-degree of separation.  They loved me, goodness knows they did, but there was that little bit of distance between our generations and while I'm wholly thankful for a lot of my beliefs and values that came from them, it felt like that second-hand sweater:  A little frayed, with a string hanging off the sleeve, and pilly. 

My child hood, I believe, gave me a unique perspective on love. 

Don't mistake me.  Because when I was a teenager, I wanted that kind of love I saw on Sixteen Candles.  That new and shiny Jake Ryan-esque version of everything where the really hot guy came in and saved the day. 

Who doesn't?  For those few years of junior high and high school, everyone wants that kind of shiny perfect love. 

I don't think anyone was more shocked than I when I found out that stuff doesn't exist. 

It doesn't mean I didn't stop looking or believing for a long period of time. 

And then in my early twenties, my path collided with my hubby's. 

Looking back, if I had to liken us to a second hand item, I would say that we were both like these flower pots on the back shelf hiding behind the really shiny, pretty lacquered up Pier One cast offs.  We would've been the serviceable terra cotta with the chips and small cracks down the sides. 


We'd both been through a world of life at our young ages due to life flower pot speak, we'd weathered many a long hot summer. 

Did I know, did I see how we would become?  How over the years we would take on this gorgeous patina?  Nope.  Not even close.

But isn't that part of the deal when you take on something that's been given away/donated/consigned?  No refunds, no returns.

Are we still those pots with the cracks and chips?  Sure enough.  And as we grow older together, I appreciate those 'imperfections' more than ever.  I really like it that way.


Our love, second hand though it might be, is still the best bargain I've come across in all my years of being a 'thrifter'.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It's All About the Climb...

(I'm bucking the tradition that says you should always post an entry with pictures.  Yes, this is my rebellious act for the week.)

Will power.

Who here has it?  Who here doesn't? 

I'm day two post-bootcamp with another class tonight and I've jumped back on the wagon of eating right and drinking more water.  Summertime, while lovely (okay, it was the armpit of the world there for a bit with temps well over the 100's for days on end), allowed me to fall completely off the wagon.  I was even drinking Pepsi here and there again after kicking that danged habit.  *gasp*

I know, right?

It always seems like that angel/devil that are seated on opposite shoulders are warring with each other constantly.  Whether it be small things like taking my lunch or just falling off the wagon completely and walking into Goodwill and shopping to my heart's content because I'm absolutely stressed, those little buggers are always at war inside of my head.  (No, I'm not Sybil.  Well, not most days.) 

And then that beloved bootcamp program came waltzing back into my life.  (I know what you're thinking:  Of all the gin joints in the world, she had to come walking into mine.  This is my relationship with exercise.)

The one thing I've been absolutely proud of during the last year is attending and sticking with bootcamp.  I've written about it before, but wanted to revisit the subject as I'm walking around like someone kicked me directly in the shorts. 

It hurts everywhere.  Literally.  If I sit too long and suddenly get up, everything screams. 

So, you may ask yourself why am I doing this to myself.  Me, too!

Just kidding.

I'm doing it because: 

1.  It makes me feel good.
2.  No lie, I feel like a badass when I'm done with class and I'm all sweaty and in pain....but it's a great pain. 
3.  I didn't think I could do it.

And you know what?  The great thing about thinking you can't do something is that there are no expectations whatsoever.

Now, if I could just apply this mentality to anything/everything I do in my world.  HA! 

I am my own worst critic.  If I can't do it the best or have it look perfect, it's not worth my time.  But, I think as I get older I'm learning about the term 'good enough'.  It's not perfect, but I tried my best and this is the way it looks.  I should be proud of that, too.  And so should you for that matter. 

Repeat after me:  Good enough is okay sometimes. 

I will practice this mantra in the days ahead and let you know how that goes.  It might be the Thrilla in Manilla for that angel and devil on my shoulders, but I'm gonna give 'er the old college try. 

Now, for those of you who are beginning something/going through a journey, here's my two cents worth of unsolicited advice to you:
1.  Share.  Share your journey.  I don't care if it's calling your best friend or writing a blog.  Share it.  Share your experiences. 
2.  Give yourself a break if you do miss a class/fall off the wagon/don't do laundry for two weeks. 
3.  Jump back on that wagon. 
4.  Buy into the hype.  If you're anything like me, you love the motivational posters/sayings on Pinterest.  I love them.  I feed off of that type of stuff.  I still cannot make it through Martin Luther King's 'I have a Dream' speech without crying.  I still cry at the end of Dances with Wolves.  I get sniffly over 'You had me at Hello...."  Do whatever you need to do to get motivated for the task at hand, no matter how big or how small.
5.  Adopt the Stuart Smalley attitude of living:  "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and darn it all, people like me."

Okay, I'm done with my break and need to get back to CV editing and swilling down my first water bottle full of water for the day.  Tonight, I'll be hanging in the back row at bootcamp (seriously, I'm THE most uncoordinated person in the world...I ain't standing up front.  I leave that for the 25 year olds.) with my purple weights and sweating profusely but when I walk out the door tonight, I'll be tickled shitless that I did it again. 

So, tell me, what's standing in the way of you doing what you want/need?  I wanna hear about it.  Or your journey that you're taking.  Tell me.  :chinhands:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Today, I Remember

I don't think that a person can let this day go by without thinking what it meant/means or where you were when the news came in about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center buildings, or the Pentagon, or the downed plane in Pennsylvania. 

I remember the shock and horror I felt eleven years ago.  I remember watching the television for days on end and every year my brain conjures up the one image I cannot replace.

We were living in a tiny rented house a few blocks away from the one we live in now and I was in the bedroom doing something or other when my husband called my name.  Our boy was in bed - three years old at the time - and I had to get up and walk away from the tv.  There was only so much that my mind, my heart could process those days.  But the way my hubby's voice sounded, I'll never forget.  I walked into the living room, saw him with tears in his eyes and he just nodded towards the tv. 

I looked over.

I still can't forget what I saw.

It was a changing of the guard of sorts at Ground Zero.  The epicenter of so much tragedy, of heroism, of everything we watched for days.  They were still searching for people's missing loved ones.  Firefighters and EMTs were sifting through the rubble of those two massive buildings to return the fallen to the people that loved them. 

Men and women walking out in their firesuits, bright yellow, with hats tilted back far enough that you could see where the hats had rested on their heads for hours, where the dirt of the rubble was still on their faces.  They were walking out. 

If that weren't enough to stop my breath, there was more:  All along their path, lining their way out, were their partners, their coworkers, the next shift, lighting their way out. 

I cannot and will not ever forget that image.  These people holding silent salute to the shift before making sure that they would return home safely. 

We were all New Yorkers on those following days.  We cried along with a nation who was grieving their fallen. 

But sitting in the middle of an Iowa Fall night, I prayed for these brave souls. 

And today, I remember.

Monday, September 10, 2012

You Make it Real....

So, today is Monday. 

I know what you're thinking:  Thanks for pointing out the obvious, Heather.

But, it's true.  We're trudging through yet another weeks beginning and I packed yogurt for breakfast and when it's coupled with scorching hot coffee...well, let us just say that it's not the best combo. 

This morning was almost no good, horrible, and awful. 

Monday's are always gonna be Monday, ya know?  But when it's coupled with me not making my lunch the night before and blearily checking out the contents of our fridge hoping to make good food choices at 5:45 a.m. .... it's just a no go.

Adding in Jude waking up in a horrid mood.  There's nothing worse than a sour ass five year old, lemme tell you.  But I wrangled her miserable hiney around and by the time I dropped her at daycare (aka Second Mom Extraordinare, JK), she was all giggles and smiles.  She even raced me to the door. 

She won, obviously.

So after a fog-filled commute (that was out of doors, people.  Again, I know how your mind works), I arrived at work.  Woot.  I've beaten the odds already for a Monday.

After zipping through emails and voicemails and all of the things that couldn't wait till Monday morning, I settled into my day after rallying back and forth with my best pal via text message.  She makes me smile.  Rarely, if ever, am I unhappy about hearing from her. 

And the little protons and neurons (don't judge, I work for Pathologists but it doesn't mean I understand them.  I leave that to Jimmy Neutron) got firing in my brain.  I was thinking about people, the very few, that can make me smile on a Monday.  We all know how we feel about Mondays, right?  They stink.  And if people tell you different, they're on meds.  Or drunk.  Or one of 'those' people.  (You know who I'm talking about.  They're cheerful. *shudders*)

But it got me thinking about my batting line-up, if you will, of folks that are my go-to's for everything in my world.  That line-up consists of thus:

1.  At the plate, tapping the bat against the insides of their cleats will always be my kiddos.  They are who I look at and look forward to always.  Their shining faces are the people I see when I first wake up and the last before I go to sleep. 

2.  On deck, swinging at the imaginary ball as the pitcher zings one past, are my gal pals.  I have a few in my hometown and a few at work and a few online.  But, all of them?  They keep me sane.  (Shuddup, I hear you laughing.  I AM sane....most days)

3.  Leaning against the doorway just inside of the dugout, is my Momma.  She's amazing, funny, brilliant, and talented (apple didn't fall far, huh, gang? ).  She always, always, always help me put things into the proper perspective (she's a Libra - who's surprised by that?). 

4.  Lastly, batting clean up, is my guy, my Kenny.  Here's why:  Every gal in the world should have a Kenny in her corner.  He's my biggest champ and that guy can make me laugh even when I don't want to.  He helps me not take myself too seriously, to laugh a little, and even though his taste in movies stinks, I still love him a lot. 

This is my gang, my bunch, my team.  They're the folks that when it's the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, two outs, and there's a full count against me, I look over my shoulder and that dug out of mine is full of these folks.  Cheering and screaming with two thumbs up, they make me lift the bat off my shoulder, dig in, and take a swing.

They make me brave and foolish and fortunate.   

So, in closing, who's on your 'dream team'?

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Taking a much needed coffee break earlier this morning....

Enjoying some knitting, coffee, and X-Files on the netflix...

Friday, September 7, 2012


Five Minute Friday


Never have I ever once in my life felt graceful. I’ve felt capable and purposeful but never once that transcending beauty type of grace that comes with screen legends and dancers. I’ve witnessed it enough, goodness knows. Although, I think over the years my idea of grace and beauty has changed. I never truly appreciated true grace until I watched my daughter’s dance. Not that my son or step-daughter can’t dance, they truly can, trust me. But, there’s something about watching my two youngest twirl around and around without a care in the world.

I envy them their carefree attitude.

I rarely remember that amount of unadulterated joy as a child. I think I was happy enough often enough but rarely those moments of giddy joy.

My Sadie does joy like nobody’s business. She’s a pro at it.

And when she’s not busy tripping over her own feet, she is one of the most graceful people I know.

She’s also one of the most loving.

There’s a beauty in that also.

When I feel cumbersome or awkward, that girl knows better than anyone. She’ll sidle up and hug me in a sneak attack or leave a note under my pillow or put a post-it in my purse.

How can someone who is eight possess that amount of joy and love?

I guess God knew that I would need her in my life. Just as he knew that I’d need each and every one of our children….and each one has been my saving grace in one way or another.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thanks for the Memories, Andy

I will honestly say that I've been having major performance anxiety.  It amazes me/astounds me that people are actually reading (trust me, I have the google stats to prove it) my little blog or that anyone actually gives two hoots about what I have to say.  I've been literally wringing my hands today wondering what sort of profound thing I could come up with to write about.  

I was drawing a major blank.

That is until about 4:57 this afternoon.

If you know me or have known me any time at all, you know that I'm an avid men's tennis watcher.  And if you know this, then you know my main guy, my go-to, my dude is Andy Roddick. 

I will preface this little story by saying that my husband got me into watch tennis (Wimbledon to be exact) while we were dating.  And I loved everything about Wimbledon.  The pomp, the circumstance, ladies and men wearing white, champagne and strawberries for breakfast, Pimms, and the royal box.  I loved it all. 

I rooted for Pete Sampras back in the day.  He was amazing.  He broke records left and right, had an amazing serve and could play on the grass courts of Wimbledon like a champ.

And suddenly in the height of his reign, Pete retired. 

I was left with no one to root for. 

And then, then along came Andy.  This brash, cocky underdog who could serve like lightning.  He was a smart ass on and off the court and there's a part of me that was always a little shocked by some of his behavior and then I would watch him step on the grass courts of Wimbledon and forget what he'd said in a press conference the day before.

I loved, absolutely loved yelling for Andy.

No time was more evident probably than the Wimbledon of 2009.  It was an all day affair stopping and starting due to rain.  Andy was playing the game of his life against Roger Federer.  They broke records that day and I yelled until I was hoarse. 

When I say that he played the game of his life, I mean it.

Andy literally played better that day than any other day I've ever seen him play.

He ended that day not the victor but I was still so very proud of our guy.  He was the victor in my eyes.

Today, today, my friends was Andy's last match.

Earlier this week, in a move that shocked the tennis world, Andy announced his retirement.  He said that he would be leaving tennis at the end of the US Open. 

I've literally held my breath during every match he's played this week.  I, along with every audience member in Flushing Meadows, has yelled loudly and cheered on our hometown hero.

Today, was the end of that run.

So please bear with me as I'm writing this with tears in my eyes. 

I will miss him stepping onto the grass at Wimbledon and I don't think his smile was any bigger than when he was playing in New York.  He loved Davis Cup and playing for his country in the Olympics.  He's been a wonderful behind-the-scenes mentor to kids younger than him and built a foundation from the ground up.  But more than that I will miss his intensity and on the other side of the coin, his sense of humor.  He is one of the most liked players on the tour.  He's hilarious. 

I will watching you play, Andy, but thank you for the last years and all of the memories.  Through you, I got to pass a love of tennis - or at least watching it - down to another generation of my family.  There's nothing like hearing my five-year-old holler your name, "Go, Andy!"  Thanks for allowing us to participate in your journey. 

Most of all, just thanks for the memories, Andy. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Winnowing through the Weeds

We had a leisurely holiday weekend at Chez Hez.  Well, on paper, we had a busy weekend but the overall feel of it was leisure.  The weather was seasonably warm and yesterday, I definitely took the term Labor Day to heart.  The girls and I headed out to the front yard.  Our lovely litte house is situated on two city blocks and sometimes, if left to their own devices, the weeds gather a life of their own.  Sure, some of it is lovely, like the Morning Glories who have come back year after year, stronger than ever, but winding their way through our railings on our tiny porch and then a wild grapevine has managed to take root, also. 

The girls and I pulled and picked, yanking this way and that, to fill up several wheelbarrow loads full.  And I was trimming back one of our forsythia bushes, I kept thinking how much of my life requires continual maintenance.  There's always laundry to be done.  Homework to be checked.  Lunches to be made.  Less pop, more water. 

But, those are the things that feed our bodies. 

And as I was standing there in the front yard, sweat dripping down my face, it occurred to me that this is one of the things that feeds the real me. 

Lately, I've been trying to cull out the extraneous weeds in my own life.  I mean, the things that are feeding the negativity in my life.  Like weeds, negativity comes creeping into my life seemingly innocent enough with people or things.  And then I'm forgetting what my job is and what is most important to me.  (Which, if you needed to know, is my family.)  These short folks - along with my husband - are the things that keep me growing.  They're the reason that I try to do more, be more, learn more.  They're the proverbial flowers in the garden, or the bounty at the end of a great garden. 

These past few weeks, I've dragged out my own wheelbarrow and started culling back the vines that are growing wild for me and have managed to trim and trim and trim.  Some of it was painful, some of it not so much.  But, ultimately I'm feeling very good about my choices. 

Like writing in this blog three times a week.  I feel good about that choice/decision.  If nothing more, there will be a little documentary of what my life was like as a mother and wife. 

As for the real life front yard, it's still in beginning phase.  There's more to do, but I feel good about the foundation I've laid down.  Everywhere.