Saturday, December 29, 2012

If you don't love it, don't own it...

So, as I'm taking a small break from cleaning up the house (which mostly includes tidying & picking up with a fair amount of cheerleading for my children.  You guys remember that cheerleader in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, right?  That's me.  RIGHT?  AM I RIGHT?  I get shrill.  Sue me.)

Either way, reflection for 2012 invariably comes with hope for 2013.  While I will be the first to admit that 2012 was a banner year at Chez Hez, I will also admit that there are certain things I would like to improve upon and that one namely being my home and the role I play in it.  I have a small, lovely home that is sat on two city blocks with oodles of potential if you don't count that whole carpet in the kitchen thing. 

Oy vey.

Either way, it combines a lot of what I love already about having a home.  There are great bones with tall ceilings, imperfect hardwood and little built ins all around.  What's not to love?  Well, for starters there are things inside my house that I pass by on a daily basis where I'm going 'Remind me again why I have that here...." 

Dig on what I'm saying here?

The same goes for the outside.  But, as it's almost January in Iowa, I will worry about that during the spring/summer months.  I want a hedge of Lavender but again, that's left for another time. 

I think most of the time I don't know where to start, which I've admitted before is an issue for me.  I don't have a 'vision' because while it's a house it's also a home but again, on that same vein, it's my Haven from the world outside. 

I want it to feel like that. 

When I walk in that back door, I want to feel like 'Oh thank GOD, I'm home.'  Ya know?

Because if my laundry room looked like this, pretty sure I'd crap eggrolls: (this picture is courtesy of the website iheartorganizing - check it out for helpful hints!)


Or when I walk into the kitchen, I'd love to see this cute space:

Or this for the bedroom:


See?  Simple, right?

Okay, how do I incorporate children into this mix?  I love my children, god knows I do, but they seem to want to have need for their space and things but oy vey it's like all their stuffs voms all over the house.

I think I've complained about this several times before and if I stumble upon the end all be all cure all, I will deffo let you know.

But for now let me just say that this year's theme/motto is:  Don't own it if you don't love it. 

You don't realize how hard this might be for me as I love shoes, clothes, books and musics.  Wish me luck!

Also, Happy 2013 all around!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Fingerprints on my Kitchen wall...

I've been trying to figure out how to talk about this rationally and I can't.

Because there is no rationale to this.  

There are children that lost their lives.

There are adults that stood in the way and bald-faced lied to a madman.

My heart aches.

It hurts.

I've read their names. 

I've cried along with a nation full of people who are trying to make sense out of the senseless.

I put up a Christmas tree today with my girls.  Bended branches this way and that, putting lights on, and candy canes.  My heart really wasn't it, but I cherished my times with my girls and my Jude's incessant babble and her bitty ways of being not a toddler but not a big kid. 

Tonight, there's a memorial service.  Our President addressed the family members who have lost loved ones. 

I walked out to the laundry room to swap out the loads of clothes and as I passed through the kitchen, I, once again, noticed the smudgy fingerprints that are all along where the table butts up against the wall. 

Fingerprints everywhere.

Smudges of peanut butter toast and of dirty fingers that have picked up gravel rocks on the way home from school because they're part of her 'collection'. 

I touched my hand to them and thought of the parents in Connecticut.  How they would stretch their own hands against their walls.  How they would relish that lingering every day memory of where their child had been. 

And the thing of it is, it's not fair.

None of this is one bit fair.

I'm angry and hurt for these men and women. 

One life lost causes a ripple effect.  You have no idea how many lives these children, these adults touched.  How many children they taught before.  How many have passed through those halls before.  How many lives are affected by one person....'s like throwing a boulder in a pond.  

And in the days to come I don't want the memories of these children and adults to become this trite bit of policy that will be bandied about.  Because once upon a time they were flesh and blood.  They weren't a news story. 

They were here.

They laughed.  They cried.  They scrapped their knees.  They got the chicken pox.  They got the flu at three a.m.  They got sent to their room.  They got stood in the corner.  They had birthday cakes.  They had wishes and dreams.   

They weren't doing anything but going along with their lives and doing what they were doing and they shouldn't have to had to die for it.

I'm mad as hell about that part. 

I'm trying to wrap my head around a way to make that part better. 

I pray. 

I think aloud with my husband and we both agree that it's just a sad, sad situation. 

And I just wonder what one person can do to make it better? 

When do we just settle on kindness as a way of life instead of it being a 'random act'? 

Do we have that all year around?  Is that naive?

I do realize that grief is a driving force for change.  It moves mountains. 

So does faith. 

So does hope. 

And today, yet, still....I have so much hope. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus....

Once up on a time eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun newspaper. 

Her letter looked like this:


I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?



In response an unsigned editorial was published in response to Virginia: 

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.



This was printed on September 21st of 1897.  

This reply to Virginia is no less relevant over 100 years later.  

While I teach my children practical skills every day (cooking, cleaning, responsibility), I also hope that I teach them to dream and to look beyond what you cannot see.  

Just because someone carries a bible, doesn't mean they have Faith.  Faith is something you can't touch or put your hand on.  It just exists inside you.  

An act of kindness may get caught on tape and go viral on youtube, but it existed inside the heart of a man or woman who reached out to a fellow human being.  You can't touch or hold the feelings in another person's heart.  

Joy isn't touchable and yet you can see it on another person's face.  

Dreams can't be downloaded from our brain onto a USB to be saved for another day to be rewatched again and again like a Happy Days rerun.  They're a time-lapsed short that flashes behind our eyelids just moments before we awake.  And some of us chase those dreams - those flashes - a whole life long (or in turn run screaming from them).    

I hope that no matter how old my children get, that they start to or begin to appreciate all of the things you can't hold or touch.  

To me, they matter more.  


...just because they can't see Santa Claus, doesn't mean he doesn't exist. 

Because, he does. 

Because, we believe.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hi, I'm Heather....I'm a writer...


Today I did something scary.

I know that a lot of you probably know this but I'll just put it out there for those of you that don't:  I didn't go to college.

I mean, obviously I didn't.  I can't place a comma any better than a kid learning to place shoes around the stake in horseshoes his first day out.  I have no freaking idea what a dangling participle is (other than it sounds slightly suggestive *waggles eyebrows*). 

And if we're being completely honest, it's always been a little bit intimidating to me.

Smart, educated people intimidate the living dogcrap outta me.

But that's my neuroses and not anything any one single person has said or done.  Or at least I don't think they have. 

Either way, I looked into take a continuing education class through the University today in Creative Writing.

It's online, thankfully. 

Why do I say thankfully you might ask...  Well, you know those cute kids in hipster pants that faff about the campus.  Well, yeah, they attend classes now and again and these little buggers have fresh minds and spirits.


Not that my spirit is dampened in any way, shape, or form.

No, that's it.  While they may have their own demons and hells, not all of them have lived the life I have, not all of them have the chip on their shoulder that I do (I'm self-aware enough to know it's there, thank you very much), and they're young. 

They're tiny, they're lovely in their youth and their unencumbered view of life just yet.  They have yet to understand their potential.  They have yet to understand how their spirits can be crushed by life only to rise above their trials or finally succumb to their dread. 

Me?  I'm just the chick in the back who is worried that her eight-year-old might not grasp the idea of reading and processing her thoughts.  Or that her five-year-old might finally get her shizz together literally and get over that final hurdle with getting to the potty on time.  Or that her teenager is such a teen.  Or that her step-daughter is so lovely and she's so proud.  Or that her hubby is out trapping and that he should be careful.  And do we have enough for this and that.  Or do we take enough time with the short people in our lives. 

....that's a two minute span of my thought process.  Exhausting isn't it? 

And I'm scared to death of doing something really really good for myself.

Ridiculous, isn't it? 

I'm not meant to be selfish.  It's not who I am.  I don't operate that way.  I also get a ginormous panic attack when I think about doing something I've never ever done before.  I'm good at playing it off like it's no big deal.  Or if you really really know already know what a big deal it really is. 

I'm not afraid of homework or hard work.  I'm not afraid of learning. 

I'm afraid of taking that step towards the beginnings of a dream of mine.

We all have 'em, don't we?  Whether they be small enough like learning how to make the best cinnamon rolls in the world (another goal of mine) to getting a degree or going to the Writer's Workshop at the University (one of the most highly touted in the States). 

I don't have to hand you a bill of sale of what it would be like for me to be surrounded by people who write.  I'm already there.  I work there.  I watch amazing people save lives and teach on a daily basis.  They inspire me to be a little bit more than I was than the day before. 

And my short folks.  They inspire me, too. 

And every person who has ever said, I love the way you write.  Or has said you should write a book.  Or that I have a gift. 

(For the record:  When you people say that, I get a little thrill.  Just for the record.)

So, I'm going to do this little class.  I'm going to give it a whirl and see where it takes me. 

It's a beginning. 

And after all, it's time. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Find your own zen, baby

There are rare days when I cut myself some slack and do absolutely nothing.


Because I'm doing stuff all the time.  I'm always mom, or Heather, or Mrs. Fleming, or Ma'am, or can you help me find Elevator A because I'm wearing a badge that labels me as an employee of the U of I Hospital and I should at least know where elevator A is, right?

So, there's that you see.

And there's a mind full of things that I have going on every day.


1.  What should I wear?
2.  God, grab some yogurt and gummies for lunch from the fridge.
3.  Do the kids have clean underwear?
4.  Where the hell is Jude's left shoe?
5.  Did I get that submitted on time for this payment to go through at work for this or that project for Dr. So and So?
6.  Shit.  The kids need lunch money.  Double shit.  I forgot again.
7.  Cute shoes.  Although they don't really go with that....Who the hell am I fooling?  I'm 39 and definitely not Tim Gunn.  But, still, I like those shoes.
8.  This is my jam.
9.  This song blows.
10.  Coffee is always a good idea.
11.  So is Paris I've heard.
12.  Drinking more water = better skin, right?  When does this friggin rule kick in?  Adult acne is so not on.
13.  Do I have enough time to knit this, this and this before the hols without driving myself bugnuts?
14.  Was that a deer or a massive mailbox?
15.  Awwww, cute holiday decorations.
16.  Dude.  You're going bald.  Accept it.

Okay, these are things that go through my mind all before noon.

So, as you can see for yourself, my mind is a terribly busy place at any one given time during the day.  This, in a word, can be exhausting.

Today, I declared it a snow day (sans snow here in Iowa but I'm sure it's snowing somewhere, right?).  I've done nothing but drink coffee, listen to music, watch youtube vids, read, attempt to nap, snuggle with my girls for a wee bit, played Bubble Blitz on Facebook, and even a round or two of Song Pop.  And Gossiped on Twitter.  Stalking folks on Twitter is one of my fave pastimes.  Not a word of a lie.  I'm nosey by nature.  

I used to feel guilty for days like this but today I'm embracing it.  Why?  Because I need it.  And that's okay.  I'm not meant to be the queen mum of Pinterest.  I'm accepting that slowly too.  I will never be one of those gals with a perfect house.  I'd love to have it.  I'd love to think that my home could look like that but I just don't have the energy and I'm worn out before I even try.

But what I do have is a home.  I have a place to lie down and snuggle with girls.  Where we can laugh over silly dance videos.  Or I can prop my head under my pillow, wadding it up, so I can talk to The Boy before he heads off to work.  I have a dog warming my feet.  I have a guy who leans around our bedroom door to tell me the worst jokes in the world and I pretend to frown but laugh as he walks away.  I get a text message from the girl who cuts my hair and is my middle's fave person in the world and who let me play Mom for the first time ever.

And there are no marble hallways or stained glass sunbursts here in my home but there are plenty of blessings.

And tonight when I lay my head down on that pillow, I'm going to count those instead of sheep.