Friday, May 27, 2011

My thoughts on this rainy afternoon...

Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day...



Tell me something...why do people give you advice, try and tell you how to live your life, tell you to change something about your life or tell you they don't think something (person, relationship, job) is right in your life? Are they trying to be your friend? Maybe.

But then tell me this ... when the coin is flipped and you do the same, why is it the end of the world and you're the worst person ever?

I'd like to know. I mean I'd really, really like to know!

This happened to me a long time ago. It still bothers me. It's one of the reasons I have so few friends today. I purposely keep it that way. It's safer. Friends think they can try and fix you or watch out for you ... and I do appreciate it. It's nice to be cared for. But then when you are worried about them and speak up, the relationship turns to crud.

My good and solid relationships are ones that have equal lines of communication. We tell each other when we're doing something dumb. We tell each other when we're doing something right. And through both those good and bad times ... we understand and we remain friends. We don't take it personally...and if we do, we talk it out. We don't go off and bad mouth each other to other people.

Maybe, in that particular instance, I just communicated poorly? No, I don't think so. My conversation was pretty much the same as theirs was to me for months and months and months about someone I was dating. But I guess their advice to me was right and mine to them was completely and utterly wrong.

Oh well. That person is gone. It was a good and uplifting time in life. And when I smell rain, it reminds me of it. I'm just hoping for new experiences in the rain...which will wash the old ones away.

XOXO,
MJ

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

365 days...a photo journal

DAY TEN: May 26, 2011

I didn't take this picture today. I actually took it a long time ago. My sister messed with it to make me look like a vampire. I'm using it today because I've had one of those days where I just want to rip people's throats out (particularly people at OfficeMax). Well, not really. But maybe if I was a vampire, I would.



DAY NINE: May 25, 2011

Finally got to spend time with Kevin! He's been crazy busy with three days in a row of concerts. I miss him when I don't see him every day. We curled up in the covers (yesterday was oddly chilly!) and watched Star Wars. Perfect end of a day.



DAY EIGHT: May 24, 2011

Kevin got me this card to use on guys who won't leave me alone. It's kind of an inside joke. If you want the story, just ask me. For now, here's the card.





DAY SEVEN: May 23, 2011

The Foo Fighters rocked it tonight! My ears are still ringing today.



DAY SIX - May 22, 2011

My parents are some of the neatest people. They're high school sweethearts and, while romance may sometimes be hard to find after nearly 27 years, they still find time. Like my dad...who decided to write this with left-over paint from the barn. ;) I hope, after almost 27 years of marriage, Kevin and I are still this adorable.



DAY FIVE - May 21, 2011

Today was the day that the Rapture was supposed to happen! Hmm. I woke up from a nap around 7 and realized I was still there. Thankfully I got a text from Kevin and he was still around, too. Boy was Harold Camping wrong! God didn't send the rapture but what He did send was some lovely thunderstorms and some (not so lovely) hail throughout eastern Nebraska. ;)



DAY FOUR - May 20, 2011

I saw this tree as we were driving home from dinner with Kevin's mom and his siblings. It was like a tree out of a magical story. The weirdest thing about it was the fact that, while it looked dead and that half of it had been cut down, there was a branch at the very top that had beautiful green leaves sprouting from it. It was the weirdest thing. Like it was telling mankind...you can't hold me down. Life is everywhere.



DAY THREE - May 19, 2011

Not a very exciting day. I did make room in my Weight Watchers plan to have an ice cream snack during the afternoon, though. It's a mini drumstick and was only about 130 calories!



I'm hoping tomorrow is more exciting!

DAY TWO - May 18, 2011

Babysitting! I've been babysitting Roe since hew as about six months old. He's two now and what a total two-year-old he is! We were watching "Jurassic Park" with Maguire, Roe's older brother, yesterday. Roe loves dinosaurs, which he affectionately calls, "Roars." Of course, whenever a scary part was about to come on, I'd distract Roe or find an excuse to take him out of the room.

Here, he's watching the part where Dr. Grant and the two kids are hiding in the tree and a Brachiosaurus decides to eat out of the tree they're sleeping in. Not a scary part and Roe was just fascinated, as you can see!



And brothers will be brothers, as you can most definitely tell in this picture. They're a hoot...for the most part! ;)



DAY ONE - May 17, 2011

I have an obsession with rearranging my apartment. I will rearrange and then six months later, rearrange again. I just don't like it to be the same old, same old. So last night, I rearranged my bedroom. Now I just need to clean out my closet...it's a giant disaster waiting to happen and, as my grandma puts it, a "magic closet." Ha, ha.

But I also hung curtains up! I love how they billow gently in the wind. It's so peaceful.



XOXO,
MJ

My Bucket List

So I recently found a list, thanks to Omaha.com, with the top 25 most-popular suggestions for someone's “bucket list.” The list came from www.bucketlist.org.
I’m going to try and do all of these before I die. Hopefully I’m 90 some years old so I should have plenty of time!
Here they are, in no particular order!

--Passionately kiss in the rain – this sounds amazing. Something I’ve always daydreamed about but it has yet to happen.

--Travel to all 50 states – Let’s see…I’ve been to Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. I’ve been to Arizona but I was only in the airport to switch flights so it doesn’t really count. And I drove through Connecticut to get to New York so I’m not sure that 100 percent counts, either. And if we want to get real technical, we just stayed in New Jersey because it was cheaper than NYC but we were barely into the city – we stayed right on the Hudson pretty much. So wow, I have a lot to go!

--Shower in a waterfall – never done this either but again, sounds pretty awesome and refreshing!

--Watch a meteor shower – CHECK! I went on a date with someone to the countryside in the evening and we sat on the hood of his car and watched it for a few hours, talking. Great guy…didn’t work out as a relationship but we’re still friends. :)

--Learn to play the guitar – I started to teach myself but didn’t get far. I would like to take lessons someday (Matt Whipkey!)

--Experience zero gravity – Now this would be fun. I could kill two birds with one stone if I get to go to space someday!

--Get a meaningful tattoo – CHECK! I actually have two! Hoping to get my third very soon…

--Learn to drive a stick shift – No…I know I need to learn but it scares me!

--Visit the pyramids – Definitely want to do this. Just hope we don’t wake any mummies up! ;)

--Go whitewater rafting – I love adventure…this is right up my alley.

--Stand in the Sistine Chapel – Again, definitely need to do this! As an avid artist, I feel it’s my duty to visit this.

--Go to a drive-in movie theater – CHECK! It was in high school I believe, though I don’t remember what movie my friends and I saw.

--Ride in a hot-air balloon – Looks like it could be fun.

--Finish a 365 photography project (take a photo every day for a year) – I started this but didn’t get too far…Maybe I’ll start again…today!

--Swim with dolphins – CHECK! Thank you grandpa and grandma!

--Go on an African safari – not something I find interesting (though it would be a little scary) but it’s definitely up my sister’s alley!

--Stand on the equator – Nope…but I’d like to do it.

--Go skinny-dipping – CHECK! Ah, summer before college…

--Learn CPR – CHECK!

--Kiss under the mistletoe – CHECK! Love you, Kevin. :)

--Milk a cow – Not yet. Too bad my parents didn’t move to the farm sooner while it was still a dairy farm. Oh well. Does the fake cow at the zoo count? ;)

--Laugh until I cry – CHECK! Thanks to all the wonderful people in my life – and the great books and movies I’ve had the privilege of running across.

--Ride a camel – I haven’t done this but it looks fun. They’re so cute…

--Drink absinthe – Nope, haven’t done this, and I heard it isn’t too fun.

--Visit Stonehenge – Wow, wouldn’t this be fun?

Check back later for more updates!

XOXO,
MJ

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Addiction

I don't understand addictions. I've never been addicted to anything in my entire life. Especially something I know is slowly killing me - like smoking.

Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Despite these risks, approximately 46.6 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes.

On Mother's Day, my dad informed us he had started smoking again. My brother and I, along with my mom and dad were taking a break outside after working in the garden when he broke the news. I'll never forget how he said it. We had been talking about the cats sneaking around and he replied, "Speaking of sneaking around...I've been smoking."

I don't think I knew quite what to say ... but I turned to my mom and said, "So that's what's been wrong with you lately." She had wanted him to tell us the weekend before, but he had refused.

I understand why he didn't want to tell us. He had let us down again.

But what I don't understand is why this is so hard for him to kick. Why is it so hard to not let us down? You'd think after surviving a brain aneurism, which by the way doctors said it's a miracle he's alive, a person would look at their life and say, "Thanks for the second chance, God. I'm going to change some things."

He tried for awhile - and he did good. Then he went back to smoking and we found out. He did good again - but again, went back to it. This has happened several times. And each time, I've taking a laid back approach. "He'll stop in time...he has to."

I guess I've been incredulous as to how he could throw away a second chance at life so easily. I figured he had it in him to stop and that he knew the danger he was placing himself in. I was in denial that he could be so blatantly stupid ... to put it in very harsh terms.

My thoughts: Doesn't he remember that February night so many years ago? That night when the doctors said he should have died out in that field from a brain aneurism? Does he remember the pain he went through - not only physically but mentally? Does he remember what we, his family, went through? Does he understand what it's like to be told your dad may not live to see the next day? Or that your husband, who you are supposed to grow old with, may not be at your side when you're 80? Does he not understand the thousands of disgusting chemicals found in cigarette smoke? Does he not know the diseases he could get from smoking?

I know he does. I just think he's in "smoker's denial," which is a very real and very difficult thing to get over. I think he thinks smoking is his friend ... a tool to help relax after a long day ... even though it does the complete opposite.

I don't think we've been there for him like we should be. It's something my dad can't get over alone. After all, he's been smoking since he was 13. So I've decided I'm going to do a better job of being there for him. Instead of being mad at his failures, I'm going to hold out my hand and lift him up.



I've decided on sending him a text message every single day. Some days they'll simply say, "No cigarettes today, right dad?" or "No cigarettes today, dad, you can do it!" or simply, "You're doing good dad. I love you."

Some days I'll send harsh texts ... hard truths about what smoking does to your body. The percentage of people who die every year, the diseases (in detail) he could get, the chemicals he puts into his bodies...listed out one by one.

And with something as bad as smoking, the list goes on and on and on.

I'll do this as long as I must. I don't want to look back someday after it's too late and say, "I should have done more." This is the last straw and he's going to get over this if it's the last thing I do in this world.

He's my dad and he's the only one I've got. I want him to walk me down the aisle (hopefully in about a year...) and I want him to be able to see grandchildren...not only when their infants but when they grow up. I want him to be able to retire and enjoy life on the farm...doing what he wants ... traveling to see the country with my mom. I don't want him hobbling around on an oxygen machine...or bed-ridden from a stroke.

He deserves to be healthy and to break free from the lies that surround and blind smokers. It's time!

If you have any advice, or stories you could share with me so I could share with my dad, please feel free to. I could use all the help I can get.

XOXO,
MJ

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Afternoon thoughts one Thursday...

Hey everyone,

In light of the death of Osama bin Laden, I’ve had many thoughts about many things. Mostly about New York City. Not only about the tragedy that befell it that Tuesday in September of 2001 … but just how vibrant and wonderful a place it is. I’ve only been there once. But I plan on going back again … and again … and again. If I could live there, I would. Lord knows there are more journalism jobs there than there are here.

I was there in June of 2004. The one-day trip is mostly a blur now but I remember being thrilled the entire time. I got to visit the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, we took a carriage ride in Central Park. We walked around Times Square. We visited Central Park west and I saw the church the Stay-Puft marshmallow man stepped on (in Ghostbusters – one of my favorite movies). ;) I couldn’t believe I was actually in my favorite city … finally. It was certainly a dream come true … silly as that may sound.

But what I remember best … is Ground Zero. It was still a gaping hole back then … even though it had been nearly three years since the attacks. Nothing had been built but the rubble had long since been removed. The cross beam still stood, though, with messages and signatures written all over it.

Black shrouds still covered some of the surrounding buildings. It was odd seeing the huge buildings everywhere – even when you looked up – but seeing nothing where the towers had stood. I couldn’t imagine hearing the deafening roar of the explosions as the planes hit. I couldn’t imagine looking up in horror to see both towers burning, nor watching the people that jumped to their death. And I couldn’t imagine watching as both came crashing down, running from the thick cloud of dust that rolled over the city. The panic and chaos must have been unbelievable.

I remember how quiet Ground Zero was the day we visited, even though it was New York City and everywhere else there is pretty loud. The sounds just died away. Maybe it was just the power of the place, it took your mind to that day and the people who died and you just forgot everything else. People spoke in hushed tones. I walked silently along the memorial, looking at the unfamiliar faces of the victims and read notes from their family members. I didn’t know any of them, but I felt their pain. I wasn’t a New Yorker but I am an American citizen and so, in a way, I think we were all very connected that day – no matter what state we were from.

I was 17 years old in 2001. I was a junior in high school and had just gotten to school and arrived at first hour (I was a teacher’s aide to Mr. Schultz) when I heard about what had happened. He turned on the TV and we just sat, staring up at it in horror. Second period was much the same. Finally administrators made us turn the TVs off…we had to go on with life. But none of us were really there that day mentally – and I don’t think the teachers were, either. But much like that day, I still don’t understand why it happened. I remember going home, sitting in front of the TV and just crying. Thousands upon thousands of people had been killed – and for what reason? There was none. They were all innocent people. It was – plain and simple – an act of evil, perpetuated by evil, evil men with nothing but hatred in their hearts. There was just no reason for it – I can’t stress that enough.

I am glad bin Laden is gone. As a Christian, I don’t wish death on any human being but I won’t deny it brings comfort and I do feel justice has been done – if only slightly. And I hope it brings a sense of closure for the families. In a written statement, Jesuit Father Federico Lambardi, spokesman for the Vatican, said, “Osama bin Laden, as we all know, bore the most serious responsibility for spreading divisions and hatred among populations, causing the deaths of innumerable people, and manipulating religions to this end. In the face of a man’s death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred.”

I fear his death, as much of a milestone as it may be to end terrorism, may also have serious repercussions. Will al-Qaida attack us again? Will those in Muslim and Islamic countries hate the west even more? I hope not but I really fear those things. But I think America is ready for that – and I think we are better prepared and alert than we were before 9/11. I don’t think something as serious as Sept. 11, 2001 will ever happen again – God, at least I hope not. But I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me being a na├»ve Nebraska girl.

I guess, the point of this entire blog post, is just to say that the death of Osama bin Laden – and now the almost daily reminder of 9/11 because of it – has really reminded me of how strong the U.S. is. We’ve come so far in 10 years. Not that I need a reminder of how proud I am of being an American, but it’s helped that, too. I drove to work on Monday, the day after President Obama announced the news, and I saw a man standing on the sidewalk near 60th and N.W. Radial with an American flag raised high, billowing in the wind behind him. And boy was he smiling. And when people honked in approval, the smile only got bigger.

It was a good sight for a Monday morning.

XOXO
MJ