Archives for July 2012

Olympic Memories

I have an obsession.

A complete and utter Olympic sized obsession with…the Olympics. Specifically, the Summer Olympics.

From the time that I was a very little girl, when the Olympic Games were on, I wanted to be watching them. I remember playing outside with some of the kids in the neighborhood on summer days, and telling them that I needed to go inside because my mom wanted me…but really I just wanted to be inside watching the competitions. Swimming, Diving, Gymnastics. When those events were on, I was glued to my TV.

I was going to be an Olympian. The gymnastics classes that I took at the age of 3 are ingrained in my memory. Jumping into the foam pit, performing on the low balance beam, cartwheels, and somersaults. I loved it. But it was pricey. Really pricey. After a year, we switched to Ballet. And that didn’t work out either. As I got older, I wished for Olympic Cheerleading. Which has yet to happen. But it will. These days, cheerleaders are hardcore.

Of course, as I got older, my knowledge of the games grew and I no longer focused solely on my mother’s favorite events. While they remain my choice events, I’ve expanded my joy into the entire 17 day journey.

In college, I got my roommates super into the games. “Family bonding nights” included dinner, drinking, and making fun of *Insert non-American team here*. We really loved the super tall Russian gymnast, who never broke a smile. We created a whole personality surrounding this woman and re-named our alter-ego of her.

“Olga” was a beast. She never smiled. She never had any inflection in her voice. And we would often use our “Olga” voice during Romance Novel Theater (in which we, the roommates, would verbalize the naughty bits in trashy romance novels performance-style. Usually it was Pat Piper and me…with Pat playing the part of the female lead, and me playing the part of the dude.) The Viking (the boyfriend of my other best friend and roommate, Sheila) and I bonded over Olga, and I’m pretty sure he still remembers her fondly.

During the last Olympic summer, I obsessed even more. If I wasn’t somewhere where there was a TV, I wasn’t happy. I required Olympic coverage morning until night. Lombard had just built its first Buffalo Wild Wings, and I was there ALL. THE. TIME. Not for the food, but for the multiple TVs. And the company. Flaherty’s had just closed, and I needed a home bar. B-Dubs worked for a while. No matter where I was that year, I was falling asleep to the late night Olympic Coverage. It was great.

This year is no different. I’ve gotten my current roommate into the games as well. We’re even attempting a cook-around-the-world feat. Saturday night was Greek Night. Last night, there were tasty homemade tamales courtesy of the fabulous roommate. An exciting time, I hope you enjoy it as well. I leave you with this chant…USA! USA! USA!

To start the festivities, just as the Greeks started the Olympics: Greek Night at our house.

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Accident Prone

As I sit here with a cut on my right hand from God only knows what this afternoon, a gash on my left ring finger from this morning (when I was putting my shampoo back into the shower caddy and my razor jumped up and bit me), and a visible scar on my left thumb from cleaning the bathroom several weeks ago (and slicing my thumb open on a screw at the base of the toilet), I can’t help but back-track to all of the other ridiculous cuts/gashes/bruises that I’ve incurred over the course of my lifetime…

This is just a glimpse of a few of my idiot injuries.

Cooking a bagel–finger burn
Toasting an English muffin-hand burn
Cooking a frozen pizza–wrist burn
Opening a cereal box–paper cut
Walking down stairs–more injuries than I can count
 
The time when I was doing my civic duty, throwing away my trash after a movie. I tossed the drink cup into the garbage attached to the wall, and something bit me. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but something cut deep under my nail bed. So bad that it swelled up, bruised up, and I had to go to the doctor for antibiotics thanks to a raging infection. SUPER FUN.

One of my favorite “cutter” stories is from the start of junior year at Bradley. I had just officially moved into my college apartment, and I was waiting for my future boyfriend to arrive in town. I was having one of those really great days; you know the ones where you’re dancing around your apartment and doing all sorts of random cleaning/organizing because you’re actually motivated to do them?

So I was about ready to make some lunch, and I decided that I would have a turkey ham sandwich with cheese. I grabbed a steak knife to open the plastic packaging, and was having trouble when WHAM! I sliced into half of my finger. Luckily, Katie’s then boyfriend, Jim was arriving at the apartment, as I was panicking. He barely looked at it, but went off to CVS to pick up some medical supplies in order to handle my little situation.

Cletus showed up while Jim was at the pharmacy, learning everything he could from the pharmacist to ensure that I kept my entire finger in tact. When Cletus saw the blood soaking through all ten paper towels I had wrapped around my hand, he panicked. He told me that I should probably go to the hospital and get that shit handled. I had plans that night and I was NOT going to mess around with doctors and hospitals.

Jim returned with supplies and helpful tips from the local pharmacist, and he helped bandage me up. Welcome Week certainly started with a bang that year.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

An Inspirational Teacher

While I was in the early stages of my M.A. in Education, I was assigned an interview project. Meet with a teacher in your future specialty, and find out about their take on teaching. Ms. Tanner was one of the two teachers that inspired me to teach high school English. Here is what I wrote:

I had the privilege to learn from one of my personal heroes her views and beliefs on teaching. Having been one of her students eight years ago, I am able to understand how she has become such an amazing teacher.
Prior to becoming a teacher at the age of 37, Ms. Tanner had many career changes; from factories, restaurants, and retail, to running her own advertising agency, she truly tried them all. At that time, she was provided with the opportunity to travel with a fifth grade class to France. She and the fifth grade teacher toured France with the children, while keeping them up to date with their schooling.  Ms. Tanner learned that she greatly enjoyed being with the students, as well as being in the classroom environment, so she decided that she would become a teacher.
After considering teaching fifth grade, and remembering that she wasn’t a fan of math or science, Ms. Tanner decided that she would prefer more specified subject matter. A journalism degree and her strength in English classes led her to teaching high school English, where she would be able to help run a student newspaper.
As a teacher, Ms. Tanner has many roles. First and foremost, Ms. Tanner is a role model and a listener. I can attest that she has inspired many students, including myself, who still think extremely fondly of her. She makes a point to know something about each and every one of her students. She takes their writing to heart and keeps the information confidential. She provides a shoulder to cry on for students who need someone to talk out their problems with. She shares in the excitement of students who have succeeded and want to tell her first. She still visits with students who have graduated, and takes joy in learning about everything in their lives. As I was sitting in her classroom after school, an old student of Ms. Tanner’s came to visit. As he spoke, she listened with her entire being, happy for his accomplishments, and sorry for his losses.
Ms. Tanner believes that “the classroom is a mirror.” The way you treat the students reflects back on you. If you treat them with kindness, respect, and trust, you will get that back to you. She also believes that it’s important to divulge a piece of herself to her class. One of the first things you learn about Ms. Tanner, is that she’s married to Keanue Reeves. Or at least that’s what she tells you.  A little humor and embarrassment can go a long way. Her classroom is full of possibilities.
Another role that Ms. Tanner takes on a daily basis is that of a disciplinarian. She describes herself as a “foot soldier in the trenches to convey the administration’s rules,” and a “prison matron for the warden.”  She also considers herself a facilitator and a guider of learning. Her job is to “expose students to opportunities for learning.” Over the years she learned that her job is to bring the horses to the water, but she can’t always force them to drink.  She is not in charge of the learning. She provides the tools and the knowledge to learn. Only the students can make themselves learn.
Ms. Tanner is a professional colleague. She is a resource for young teachers. She feels a sense of camaraderie with her fellow teachers. Ms. Tanner also considers herself a bookkeeper. She tracks everything from assignments and grades to tardies and truancies. She is one of the few remaining of her colleagues to still use a paper grade book. She feels it’s important to have everything in one place, accessible immediately.
The challenges of teaching are always present. Some days Ms. Tanner wants to be too mean. She wants to yell and scream about the small things. She recounted a recent experience about a student who didn’t do his work all semester, but when grades came out, he asked what he could do. She told me that she was probably too harsh in her response, and days later she softened, giving him an opportunity to improve his grade. She sometimes wishes she didn’t react quite so immediately.
With challenges, come rewards. Ms. Tanner divulges all the perks of being a teacher. She loves working with students. All of the rewards are student based. “Students are fun. Adults not so fun,” she tells me. She appreciates seeing all of the students who come to visit her and the people she’s helped. She had inspirational teachers in high school and hopes that she is doing the same. I know from experience that she is.
In the 17 years that she has been teaching, Ms. Tanner has learned one very important thing. She never stops learning. “There’s never a dull, boring moment in teaching,” she reveals. She learns about human nature, her contribution to her job, and there’s always something new to learn about the subject. She regularly learns new things about the pedagogy. She recalls visiting several schools that run on a block schedule, which her school was considering. She is always learning new ways to deliver instruction. She smiles when she tells me, “You never know what the day will bring.”
Since becoming a teacher, Ms. Tanner has never looked back. Her only regret is that she didn’t start sooner. She wishes that she had known at 22 that she would love being a teacher. Of all the careers and jobs that she has had, teaching is, by far, the most rewarding and best job she has ever had.  She fondly discusses how enriching the job has been for her. She shares with me that she has been to many graduation parties, weddings, baby showers, and even funerals. Because she never had any children of her own, she always feels as though her students are her children. Ms. Tanner puts her whole world into teaching, and from what it appears, she gets a world back.
 

Of course, inspiration from a truly great teacher does not a great teacher make, and teaching just wasn’t for me. As much as I loved working with the students, teaching was not what I hoped it would be. Ms. Tanner is still an encouragement, and I know that she’ll be proud, no matter which direction I take.  She has one of the rosiest, shiniest, happiest personalities in the whole world, and I’m proud to say that I know her.

To this day, when I chat with her, she’ll still call me Sunny or Sunshine, and I’m glad that she considers me a bright spot in her world of amazing students.

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

My rookie mistakes: Interview bloopers

So, I’ve been meeting with recruiters and HR people and managers galore in the wonderful world of job hunting lately. One of the things that I have found frustrating is the number of rules that one is supposed to follow, and the number of rules that recruiters and HR people and managers change on a regular basis. So I’ve decided to offer you some of my job hunting highlights.

One of my first interviews was with a small firm in The Loop on Good Friday. Located inside the building connected to Ogilvie Train Station by an overpass, I planned to take the train down early, have some lunch, and wait patiently for my interview time. The morning started with a wardrobe malfunction due to my brand new suit skirt slit ripping up the back. Luckily, I had planned to stop over at Toyota to visit my mom and get her opinion of my ensemble. She quickly sewed the skirt for me, and I proceeded downtown in a different skirt so that I didn’t wrinkle the suit.

I opted to take the earlier train, as the next one would give me approximately 15 minutes to get to my interview. I figured early is better. So I got downtown in one piece and made my way over to The Corner Bakery for lunch. I had some tasty treats and then went to the bathroom to change into my suit. Of course, problem number one was going to the bathroom. Wearing scary stomach holding in bodysuit dealie over pantyhose meant that I had to basically strip down to my skivvies, and readjust everything, which I did. THEN, I got myself in one piece.

So the recruiter who set up the interview had informed me of some pointers when I made my way down for the interview. “Don’t wear your sunglasses on your head. Make sure that you send thank you notes. Arrive early. Allow extra time to get through security.”

I had brought a very small purse, my portfolio, a book, and my sunglasses. I also had that backup skirt in tow. So when I was ready to head toward to location of the interview, I had the pressing question, “What do I do with the book, the sunglasses, and the skirt?”

I thought about my options, and where I was. I decided to go with the most trustworthy person that I could think of: The bartender. Knowing that the Newsroom was conveniently located inside of Ogilvie, I figured that the man running the bar would be my best bet. When I asked him to hold onto my stuff, he laughed but agreed. I thanked him profusely and made my way to the interview. When I got through security and officially arrived, it had only taken about 3 minutes. I was 35 minutes early.

Crap.

And I had left my book with the bartender. So I waited. And waited. It was Good Friday, and people were rushing to get out of the office. I thought maybe they’d get me in a few minutes early and I could jump on a train home. Nope. 10 minutes after my scheduled interview time, the interviewer finally arrived. We briefly chatted in a stiffened conversation, that at the time, I should have known meant it was like a bad first date that was never going anywhere. But I remained hopeful. Upon leaving, the bartender had kept my goodies safe and I left him a tip as I jetted to the train.

I didn’t get that job…

A few weeks later, I met with the owner of a very small firm. She was fun. She said “fuck” like 15 times in the interview. And called one of her big-name clients assholes. Twice. But she lectured me for being 20 minutes early. I wasn’t very good at this interviewing game…I always thought that you were supposed to arrive early. And that they counted on you being early. Apparently, it has to be 5-10 minutes only.

I didn’t get that job either…

Then at another interview, I arrived with 10 minutes to spare, STILL had to wait for 25 minutes, and managed to stash my sunglasses on top of a toilet paper holder in the handicap bathroom stall. I thought that one stood a chance…but alas, no dice for me.

But just like when several first dates don’t go so well, I remain optimistic that it’s all going to work out the way it’s supposed to. Besides, I got to go back to working with the kiddos for another summer.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Interview and Questions 101

In honor of my upcoming interview this Tuesday, I’ve composed my own version of the dreaded interview. Seriously, if I owned a company, this is the type of interview I would hold. When I was a catering manager, I did often interview potential employees, and while I was still pretty green and used some of the same old questions, I came up with a few of my own. Really the interview is about matching personalities with the company and the other employees.

Pre-Interview Test (AKA: The Idiot Test)

This one’s important. It basically questions the integrity of the person who is applying for a job with your company. Before you bring them in, make them take this short 10-20 multiple guess question “test” asking about hypothetical situations and how they would handle them.

Interview Questions

I think that many interview questions are absolutely trite and pointless. What is your biggest strength? What is your biggest weakness? How do you overcome it? Come on! Think outside the box. Make the interview a little more interesting. Make your potential employees answer questions on the spot that they HAVEN’T prepared for. Dig deep and get creative. Also, positivity is way better than negativity. Even it’s an attempt to see the “humble” side of your future worker bee.

1. What makes you awesome?

2. What was the best thing about your last job?

3. Tell me about a time that you did something that you were incredibly proud of.

4. Tell me about your best friend, and why they are your number one.

5.What do you do better than anyone else?

6. What are three excusable reasons for not coming into work?

7. Follow up to number 6–have you ever used them?

Interview Writing Test

In order to 1) gauge their ability to communicate to the world and 2) assess the amount of creativity/spontaneity that they possess, I would then sit the interviewee down in front of a computer without access to the internet and ask them to type the answer to two of the following questions in Word.

1. Name and describe one character from Punky Brewster other than the title character.
2. Tell me something fabulous about Bridget Jones.
3. Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
4. What are the three rules in caring for mogwai (aka Gremlins)?
5. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Why?
6. If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, why did the chicken cross the road?
7. What is the worst state in the union? Why?
8. Best thing about USA’s Up All Night? Why?
9. What is your opinion of flip flops?
10. Santa or the Easter Bunny? and a good reason why?

And Finally…

A Day in the Life

Or even just an hour…I would ask the employee to demonstrate their ability by completing a short one hour sample of their potential job duties. Whether it’s teaching, writing, editing, designing, computer programming, serving, managing, bartending, accounting, customer service, or any job under the sun…this one’s important. Can. They. Do. The. Job?

A vigorous interview process like this would probably send some people running. Good. I wouldn’t want lazy unimaginative people working for me, anyways.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

My Favorite Piece of Hate Mail

I’ve always been something of a flirt, but for me, it’s often harmless. Occasionally, some guy with a girlfriend would come along and strike a friendship with me based on drinking beer, hanging out at a bar, and laughing hysterically. Some call that flirting. I call that having fun.

Even if I were flirting with someone, in no way would it have meant that I intended to sleep with that person. Or try to break their relationship up. Flirting does not equal desire. (This is not to say that I have never partaken of the Dirty Mistresses Club; it merely means that I was not looking to steal every girl’s boyfriend.)

Yes, I used to dress pretty provocatively. Yes, I wore clothing that accentuated my assets, but I never looked trashy. God provided me with an ample amount of upper body, and though it may have seemed like I was showing the world my goodies–much like an iceberg, I was mostly hidden below.

When I was 24, I spent a lot of time at Flaherty’s. We sing karaoke and had a really great time. Large groups of people would come to hang out, and I always had a blast. One particular group of people would frequent the karaoke shows. I would duet with Matt, and drink with all of his people. He was an incredibly flirtatious guy, so when we would chat, it seemed like we were interested in each other. Not. The. Case. He was a little too much like me for me to ever want to date him.

I prefer guys who bring something different to the table. I don’t want to be in constant competition to be funnier, sassier, or louder. It would be obnoxious. I think that was the case for him as well. His very sweet girlfriend was quiet and reserved. I thought she was a pretty nice girl.

Apparently, she didn’t think the same of me. I received the following MySpace message from her cousin, Anne:

“Oct 27, 2007
 
Anne says:
 
I have a little problem with the way you are disrespecting Lisa.
Why are you always hitting on Matt and may I add in front of Lisa, you know, Matt’s girlfriend? I thought you liked Lisa. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but Lisa gets a little upset when your around. Matt is a friendly guy, likes everyone, talks with everyone, and maybe (or obviously) he’s a “boob man”. But it’s getting pretty old seeing your boobs hanging out ALL the time. It’s not just me, it’s other people too. You know there are better ways of showing off your assets.
I really wish you would RESPECT Lisa and quit hitting on Matt. I’m not trying to be a bitch, I always thought you were a nice girl and just letting you know there are more appropriate blouses out there to be wearing. I’m not saying you have to be like me and cover up. I know you like to wear flirty outfits and all, I’m just saying they don’t have to come down to just above your nipples.
I really hope you do take all of this into consideration. I don’t want to put you down, I want you to be aware that you can still look classy while dressing flirty. You’re a cute girl and I’m sure you’re fun, you can get a boyfriend of your own, stop hitting on other woman’s boyfriends. Thanks for reading.”

 

Let’s just say I had a hard time not wanting to write back and correct her grammar. I was pissed. This message has stuck with me for almost five years. Not because I was hurt by it. Not because it was true. And definitely not because I learned something from it. But because it rang a bell that I had yet to hear. Some people just don’t get it.

Anne was a cute girl, definitely a little bit on the prude side, but like Lisa, I liked her. She exaggerated a lot to try making her point, but all I really got out of it was jealousy and stupidity. Yep, I said it:

People are stupid.

 

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Mind Games or Mindless Games?

I love stupid mindless games. Maybe they help me think. Or stop thinking for just a little while. Maybe they bring me to a certain focus that regular games can’t… I’m currently addicted to Bejeweled Blitz and this crazy adventure game that I’ve been playing addictively for weeks now…

A few months ago, it was a game called Balloons Tower Defense.

Several years ago, I was sitting at my computer, procrastinating. Word Twist wasn’t really doing it for me. All of my friends were busy doing…their jobs….and I was bored. And then I thought of snood. And visited snood.com. And thus began another circle of the 6th level of hell that is snood.

Still, I blame Penny for this never-ending cycle. In fact, while we’re placing blame, I’m going to go ahead and blame Snood for not graduating from Bradley with honors. Single-handedly ruined my GPA, snood did.  Remember when I couldn’t think of anything to write for George Chambers? And I kept sitting there, playing Snood. And then I wrote him a poem about Snood? I do.

What about the time that a friend of mine tried to hook me up with the guy who looked like they Grey Snood? No matter how drunk I got, no matter how hard I tried to convince myself he really was cute….All I could see was Grey Snood.

And then I deleted snood.

And life was good. Until I found Snood Towers. And re-addicted myself to Snood. Fucking Snood. Then, while working towards my masters degree,  I supposed that because I was back in college, grad school, even….I should have had Snood back up and running. Just plain old original Snood….but there were oh so many more options than just Snood. That guy started running some crazy multimillion dollar organization or something.

There are now a hundred different versions of Snood! I wish I had bought stock in it when I first started. Maybe I wouldn’t be so damn broke. Maybe I wouldn’t waste hours at snood. Maybe I would be able to pay for my masters degree with money from SNOOD!

I am the master of procrastination.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here

No, seriously…It’s friggin’ hot.

Thanks to a faulty air conditioner…OK, maybe not faulty, but definitely not working…we’ve been sweltering for the last two weeks. Well, sort of.

Brian and I have a window unit in our room, so sleeping is A-OK…but you try confining two people into a small bedroom for two weeks and see what happens. So we’ve spent evenings sweating our brains out.  Our roommate, Anna, and I have both been taking cold showers. And ENJOYING them. We’ve ceased all cooking inside the house until further notice. We try to stay away from home as much as we can. It’s been a whole lot of not fun.

Of course, last night, my boyfriend has decided that there is no way in hell he could wait another day…and so he and I walked outside armed with a flashlight, a toolbox, and some random a/c parts…

He’s got a buddy who does A/C stuff, so he had some assistance in discovering the problem and acquiring the right parts, but I really wasn’t sure it wasn’t such a brilliant idea.

So Brian starts explaining what he’s doing, and one of the first things that he points out is that if you touch the A/C parts without it properly bring turned off, you would die. This was NOT what I wanted to hear. So then I started having an internal freakout, and told him, “Don’t die.” Not that I have a tendency to worry and over-think or anything…

So he went through the whole process (with a few phone calls to his pal in between) and voila. Working A/C. I didn’t once doubt his ability to complete the task, but I seriously questioned his sanity at attempting to do it in the dark.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I feel like King Roland when I loudly proclaim, “AIR!”

(Bonus points if you know who I’m talking about without looking it up.)

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Olympic Games & the Presidential Election

As the Olympic Games draw nearer and the 2012 United States Elections a short distance behind them, I am reminded of a time that I thought I was the most clever writer. So much so, that my pal Debbie and I believed we could become famous with a pseudonym-ed blog. We called ourselves Quinn Sanders, and we were brilliant. Well, we thought we were anyways.

The idea was Debbie’s brainchild, and she brought me into the mix a month after Quinn’s inception. We shamelessly plugged the shit out of Quinn, telling all of our friends that it was our new favorite blog. Of course, we were writing every word of it…so clearly it was pure genius in our minds.

Quinn gave advice to readers, rocked out her MySpace page, and she may have even had a Facebook for a brief time. She often conversed with her fans through MySpace, and gained a small following among anyone that would add “us” as friends on MySpace.

She was more than just a pseudonym. Quinn was a character that we created. She had a job (she was a freelance journalist). She had favorites. She was something of a nationalist. She loved to travel. She loved to write and speak at workshops & seminars. Quinn was not us. Quinn was what Debbie and I wished we were at 23 and 25 respectively.

To this day, I am still quite proud of several pieces that I wrote for Quinn’s blog, and I’ve taken the liberty of cutting (and mildly editing) my Olympics Election Connection post, as I believe this is the perfect time to bring back my comparison to these oh-so-important events in our country. Let Freedom Ring and all that jazz.

Olympic Games Followed by the Presidential Election: Coincidence or By Design?

~Quinn Sanders

Every four years, in August, our country unites. We stand together and cheer for the United States, land of the free, home of the brave, etc. We glue ourselves to NBC and obsess about the athletes from our home country as the compete against China, Romania, and Russia, among hundreds of other countries.

We put a lot of stock into our young athletes to prove we’re better than any other country out there. We spend billions of dollars to view, endorse, and sometimes even exploit these people, some of whom are still just children. But together, we find joy in supporting Team USA.

Then, a few weeks after this united front, we divide, quickly and bitterly, just like clockwork. Because the Summer Olympics occur just a few short months before our big presidential election. We fight, argue, and debate(yes, I believe those are 3 different things entirely). We take every possible controversy and turn it against our opposing political side, whichever side we choose–if we even choose.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are millions of people who could care less about the Olympics, and there’s millions of people who don’t “rock the vote.” But I personally love the Olympics and rock the vote. Maybe it’s the journalist in me that feels the need to be informed and know EVERYTHING of any importance, but I dig it.

But it seems as though we don’t play well with others–world athletic competitions, wars, economics, you name it. And when there are no others around…we don’t play well with ourselves–athletic competitions, politics, economics, religion (yes, freedom of religion doesn’t mean we’re not going to fight about it) even wars… And it all comes out during election time. “He never fought in a war!” “She doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose.” “He has no experience.” “He won’t end the war.”

When does it end? Why does it have to be all about witty jabs and verbal punches? A few weeks ago we were raving about how great our country is, and now we’re tearing each other apart.

Well, my dear readers, I hope you do your research, stay informed and please…. ROCK THE VOTE! No matter who you choose, keep in mind that our country isn’t too bad. We are able to decide who runs our country every four years. No dynasties, no dictators, Take that, China!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

My First Taste of Disney Magic

Brian and I had planned on a trip to Ireland this coming fall, but with my six month stint of general unemployment, it really doesn’t seem feasible to spend thousands of dollars on an international vacation. So we’ll stay close(r) to home. And do Disney!

While Brian has never experienced the magic that is the wonderful world of Walt Disney, I have visited four times in my lifetime. Planning our upcoming trip has brought back a swarm of memories of the Happiest Place on Earth.

My first trip to Disney was when I was just barely a toddler–old enough to remember bits and pieces, but too young to remember it all vividly. At 3, I knew that we were going on our first big vacation, but I don’t remember the excitement of visiting the Magic Kingdom. That first trip, Mom, Dad, Deven, Brian, and I woke up bright and early before the sun rose to hop in the old station wagon and make our way south. I remember falling asleep in the living room and waking up to Deven telling me that it was time to go.

Mom and Dad packed my little brother and I (still in our pajamas) into the way back of the station wagon with stuffed animals, blankets, and pillows, where we promptly fell back asleep. We woke up somewhere between Illinois and Florida and tried to keep ourselves entertained. With our big sister lounging across the center seat of the wagon, we stayed in the back and she tried to keep us from boredom as best as a 14 year old girl can do.

We stayed at several different hotels throughout the course of our vacation, including one situated on the beach for our first ocean excursion. During one of our hotel visits, I was swimming in the large public pool when I suddenly became violently ill (after accidentally consuming a little too much chlorinated water), releasing a swarm of death from the inner pits of my stomach through my mouth and right into the pool. I believe that the pool was quarantined for the rest of the day and possibly into the next. Oops!

Then we made our way to the Magic Kingdom, where they were celebrating their 15th anniversary. As the lucky 500th person through the gates, I won my very first major prize. Little three-year-old Chrissy won a free pass to Disney World, which was valid for life. Of course, we used it when I was 10 and the fam had returned for our second Disneycation.

I remember some of the rides, but not all of them. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was my absolute favorite, and I was heartbroken when I discovered that it was no longer there. I was riding in the car with Deven and she let me “drive.” She kept telling me that I was going the wrong way, but I was laughing so hard I couldn’t stop.

I was terrified by the Peter Pan ride because it really felt like I was flying, and I thought that there couldn’t be anything more fun than the Haunted Mansion.

The last memory I have of that trip was just a day that I had with my mom. We drove to Treasure Island together while Brian, Dad, and Deven stayed at the hotel. We visited my great grandma Myrt and great-grandpa Warren. That was the only memory that I have of my great grandma, who passed away some time after our visit. She was so nice to me, and she gave me stuff to color, while I was sitting on the floor of her bedroom. My mom seems surprised every time I tell her that I remember being there, but I do.

As I gear up for my upcoming Disney trip, I’ll be sharing the more vivid stories and entertaining tales of Disney over the next few weeks. I’m stoked.

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