Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What I learned from 'I do'

This weekend, Phil and I will celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. My how time flies. Actually, it really feels like we’ve been married for longer (in a good way). But it is funny to look back at the humorous stuff we’ve learned about each other in the past year. Like how Phil eats mac ‘n cheese with a spoon while I use a fork and other less obvious preferences regarding food, chores, entertainment, etc.

I asked Phil what was one thing he learned in the past year. He said he’s learned not to use the word “sure.” I admit this is because, when I ask him a yes or no question and he answers with “sure” I want to know if that really means "yes" or "I'd rather say 'no' but think yes is the right answer."

We’ve also had to teach each other a thing or two. I had to teach Phil how to fold a pair of women’s underwear. (I’m laughing just thinking about that moment.) On the other hand, Phil patiently taught me how to operate the TV remote and DVR (before I got married, I didn’t even have cable), not to mention basically every other piece of technology in our home.

Anyway, not to rattle off a cliché, but the biggest thing I’ve learned about marriage is probably the fact that I still have a lot more to learn. That’s why I’m looking forward to many more years with the hubs! So, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned in the past year?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Remember my name

Ever since movie makers announced they were re-making FAME I have been looking forward to this weekend. Luckily the bad reviews convinced me to go in with low expectations. If you prefer good acting and a compelling plot, I’d recommend you skip this particular movie. But the performances sprinkled throughout were still fun.

It’s movies like this—and TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, and of course, GLEE—that send me into daydream heaven. Despite my bad knees and 30-year-old body that hasn’t done a double pirouette or split leap since high school, I still aspire to be a performer.

Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than a flashy song and dance routine. Put me in the audience of any Broadway show and I’ve got happy tears in my eyes the moment the curtain goes up.

Why can’t life be more like a musical? We all randomly break out into song and a perfectly choreographed dance routine at random times—at the grocery store, during meetings at work, going to check the mail. I’d like to think heaven will be one eternal Tony Award-winning musical. But for today, I guess singing at my church and dancing at weddings (and occasionally in my living room) will have to suffice.

So, what’s your favorite Broadway or movie musical? I know. There are too many to choose from. I’ll have to think about it and get back to you with my pick later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To text or not to text

I love text messaging! Now, many (mostly younger) people made this declaration a couple years ago. For a long time though, I didn’t really get the point. Now, however, I do find value in using (but not overusing) this technology. For me, it started with a couple messages a month. Then, about a year ago, I got a new phone with a full "QWERTY" keypad. Suddenly, texting was faster and seemed more efficient. I started to use it more, and a couple months ago even managed to exceed the alloted texts in my phone plan. So, I upgraded my plan to go even more text crazy.

Mostly, I like texting because it’s quick and not intrusive. I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t want them to call me, ‘cuz that’s not true at all. But, I admit that I’ve never been good at calling people, and it’s mostly because I have this constant worry that I’ll be interrupting something or catching the callee at a bad time and they’ll feel stuck talking to me. In addition, let’s face it, sometimes you just want a quick answer and not a full conversation. Texting is great for quick Q&A.

I do think some people misuse it though. It sounds like most students today communicate almost solely through text messages. I know a couple teenagers who send more than 1,000 texts every month. From what I hear, that’s not uncommon. Another thing I don’t like is that it promotes bad grammar and writing habits. Since I write for a living, this really bugs me. I can’t stand the text abbreviations (TTYL, BBIAM, YGTBKM) . Say what?! I rarely abbreviate anything when I text, which is probably a waste of time, but hey, I like the look of complete sentences, okay?

Also, I have learned to be careful about sending texts. Just this week I sent my husband a text (or so I thought), but it actually went to my sister. I’m sure Heather wondered why I wanted her to tell me when she would be home and hear what I was making for dinner. I’m sure she was also extremely grateful that was all the message was and it didn’t have any mushy stuff meant only for the hubs.

Any other happy texters out there? Or anti-texters? TAFN (translation: that’s all for now)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cover your cough

Work has been crazy lately. While this is normally my busiest time of year, I get an extra dose of busy this fall because of H1N1 (swine flu). No, I don’t have it (yet), but I sure have learned a lot about it over the past five months—having been tossed into the realm of pandemic planning and communication for the large health care system where I work.

So what have I learned exactly? Well, more than I ever wanted to know about N95 masks, antiviral prophylaxis and nasopharyngeal swabs. I’ve also learned that crisis communications is not really my forte. Sure, it’s an exciting adrenaline rush for the first 14-hour day, but after several weeks of never knowing what the day’s emergency will be—not so exciting anymore.

But most importantly, I’ve learned that we probably don’t have a whole lot to worry about when it comes to this latest outbreak. Even so, our hospitals and clinics have to plan for the worst-case scenario, which is very overwhelming.

I leave you with some sound advice for protecting yourself from the flu this fall. I think Dr. Clarke says it best. Don’t you agree?

(No, Dr. Clarke doesn’t work for my employer, but if he did, I’m pretty sure we’d be good friends.) I’m off to go recruit my own rapping doctor now. Talk about a homerun for my communications plan!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

12 steps for everyone

Those who know me know that my involvement with music at my church is a big part of my life. This year that commitment involved the addition of co-leading the large group music/worship time at a weekly ministry called Celebrate Recovery (CR). (And by “co-leading” I mean I just show up and sing while my husband does the other 90% of the work.) CR is a nationally recognized, Christian-based recovery ministry for people struggling with all kinds of life issues—from various addictions, codependency, depression, family members of people with these issues, etc. Incidentally, the CR meetings at my church were featured in this month’s issue of the Minnesota Christian Chronicle if you care to check it out in detail.

Here’s the interesting thing I have learned through my weekly attendance during a portion of these meetings… the 12 steps that everyone associates with AA and other programs aimed at addictions are totally applicable to every person on the planet. Suggestions like turning our lives/will over to God, asking God to remove our character defects, admitting wrongs, making amends, etc. amount to guidance we could all use to enjoy more freedom from the heavy stuff of life that we all deal with in varying degrees during our lives. I guess that realization has been somewhat of an aha moment for me. I’m no different than the other fantastic people at CR who are trying to gain some victory over their “hurts, habits, and hang-ups.” I don’t know if that knowledge makes me feel more or less “normal,” but it has definitely given me more awareness of some valuable steps. And getting those weekly reminders of biblically based recovery principles has actually been good for me, so I just thought I’d pass it on!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

One of those days

Well friends, it’s been an exhausting week for me. It started with a very unpleasant, middle-of-the-night encounter with a large insect in my home (seriously, if I would’ve been awake enough, I would’ve taken a picture and sent it to the Guinness Book of World Records). That was followed by a series of long, dreadful days at work. Granted, I’ve accepted the fact that September and October are never going to be “fun” at my job, but I’ll get through it.

And to end my week, I hit a wall. Literally. Yesterday I ran into a wall. In my own house. (And I used to be a dancer!) My arm is so painfully bruised right now that I have to keep looking at it to confirm that it really isn’t a gunshot wound.

When life has me frustrated, it always helps to turn up some music really loud and just scream along, er, I mean, sing along. I have a few favorites to turn up that really help me let off steam: Plumb’s Solace is one of them. With a chorus that says “Grab it. Kick it. Smash it. Love it. Loathe it” how can you not feel a little relief after that? And Linkin Park’s One Step Closer works well too. Of course, on the other end of the music spectrum, I get to go to church tonight and sing some great worship music, which also helps to keep things in perspective and remember Who is in control.

What about you? Any other music recommendations for those frustrating days?

While music helps, shopping does too. I bought a new butt-kicking power suit today to wear for some meetings this week. Tomorrow, I am a new woman!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm a gleek

I was a pretty busy high school student between academics, the dance team, church youth group activities, etc. But, my absolute best memories of high school involved being in our school’s show choir. Sure, it sounds cheesy that we would sing and dance in flashy outfits in national competitions (and even on a cruise ship). It may not have been the coolest activity at school, but the group did include a few football and basketball players who could sing and dance with the best of them. It was, at a minimum, a socially acceptable activity at Bloomington Jefferson Senior High. Lucky for you, we didn’t have You Tube in 1997, so I’ll spare you my “Jefferson Connection” performances on video. You’ll just have to trust me that we were pretty darn good and brought home a few trophies back in the day. And, don't we all look fabulous in fuchsia?

Anyway, given my enthusiasm for show choir, you can probably understand my excitement and sheer elation over the latest show to debut this fall season: Glee. I’m not kidding you when I say I have never been this excited about a new TV show. (Ask my husband who can’t hold in his laughter when I literally jump up and down talking about this show. ) The show is about a high school teacher who tries to reinvent the high school glee club starting with a quirky group of outcasts and the high school quarterback who have failed to see their true potential. Some of the humor is definitely more adult, but the music is great, and the memories it inspires for a choir gal like me are enough to make this my most anticipated show of the fall season. You can pretty much bet this isn’t the last you’ve heard about Glee on this blog.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I miss recess

All the TV ads and store displays are telling me it's back-to-school time. And it reminds me…I miss going back to school (and yes, recess too)! The new outfits, the new teachers, the return of Italian Dunkers to my lunch menu. Those were the days. Growing up, I loved having a clean slate and feeling that nervous excitement that goes along with this official transition to fall.

While children everywhere are trying new locker combinations and hoping for at least one easy 'A,' we adults of the world mostly just stick to our routines. I generally like having my routine, but there's something about this time of year that makes me want to shake it all up and start fresh. And for some reason, anticipating the new seasons of Grey's Anatomy and So You Think You Can Dance just isn’t quite cutting it.

Any advice for reinventing the routine? Perhaps I need to go shopping for a new back-to-school outfit this weekend (just for old time's sake, of course). Or maybe I should start rockin' my CPK lunch box again. Now that would make me the envy of all my co-workers for sure!

In honor of all those going back to school this week, I have to post this clip from one of the best TV shows of my younger years. It's long, but worth watching. I particularly love the conversation with Theo that starts just after the five-minute mark—oh the drama of high school! We thought we had it so tough.

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone!