Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Wedding to Remember

I've always been embarrassed by people looking at me.  I don't mind doing things in group settings, cheerleading, dancing, being on a parade float, you know, the usual.  As long as everyone else is doing the same thing at the same time I'm all right.  But, if you make me stand up and talk to a group or if somehow everyone is looking only at me?  Well, I will be red and blotchy before you know it.  Therefore, I have never had a single desire to walk down an aisle in a church filled with people that are only looking at me.  Could you imagine?  I would have to have a turtleneck wedding dress, and I just don't think I would be able to find one I like.

But once I met Paul, we knew within days that we would be getting married. There was really no question, no doubt, no awkward dating phase.  We both just jumped to the happily ever after part.  I was afraid that I was going to have to walk down that aisle in a turtleneck dress after all.  I had always pictured a teeny tiny wedding (my parents are the only ones I needed to be there) with a big party afterwards.  I wanted people to come, celebrate my wedding and have fun, but for the love of God, please don't look at me!  So I was thinking city hall, but when Paul suggested Vegas, even though I could only picture tacky Elvis weddings, I started packing my bags!
We decided to stay and get married at the Mandalay Bay.  Mom and Dad made plans to fly in and be our witnesses, guests, best man, and matron of honor.  The hotel was incredible to work with.  Basically they sent me a million multiple choice questions that I answered with no involvement from anyone.  I did not have to have meetings with a wedding planner, I did not sample cakes or make menu selections.  My responsibilities included checking marking boxes on the form and buying a wedding dress.  Paul's responsibilities included buying a suit and finding his divorce papers.  Ah, yes, the divorce papers.  Hmmm.  Has anyone seen those pesky things?  Oh, wait, maybe they never actually arrived.  Let's see, 3 years ago, where would I have put those?  PERHAPS I AM NOT ACTUALLY AND OFFICIALLY DIVORCED!!!!!!!  We had already purchased plane tickets and were well on our way to being polygamists.

So, we had to add one more little responsibility to Paul's list of things to do.  Once that task was completed and I could breathe again, we moved on to picking out our wedding rings.  Being sensible people, we decided to reuse the one from his previous marriage.  He liked it fine, it fit perfectly, and there was no reason to go buy one exactly like the one he already had, right?  Even though this was completely fine with me, inside my head I did a little ceremony to get any bad marriage mojo off the ring, then took it to the jeweler's to have them scrub it and shine it and engrave it with our anniversary date.

We spent the days before and after the wedding touring the hotels and seeing shows. The day of the wedding we  got up early and had breakfast, then we got all dolled up for our 10:30 event.  It was in a small, beautiful chapel with a very kind pastor who spoke of peace, harmony, respect and love.  My Mom and Dad both walked me down the aisle, so the only person that was looking at me was my future husband, and I was o.k. with that.

After the ceremony, my parents surprised us with a "reception" in their hotel room.  They had a top tier of a wedding cake, mixed nuts and champagne for the four of us.  It was perfect, and the most thoughtful gift I have ever received because it was so totally unexpected and traditional in my non-traditional wedding.

To celebrate we went on the Stratosphere to ride the scariest roller coaster of all time.  How many people can say they did this on their wedding day?

Then we came home and had a really fun, relaxed party where no one looked at me!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Meeting Place

I have the privilege to work at a place where people come to meet. They meet business partners, future clients, study partners, friends, relatives, blind dates, and sometimes they come hoping to meet their perfect "someone". Just today, a regular customer who was meeting a client in the cafe bought me a cup of coffee. Later in the evening I saw 2 women sitting in the corner of the cafe. One had a tissue in her hand and was crying on and off for several hours. I saw groups of students rearranging our furniture to suit their cramming needs. An employee came in on her day off to meet a friend. She said her friends only want to meet at Barnes & Noble, so even on her day off, she has to come in. We are the place that people come to splurge, after a movie or after dinner, with a piece of cheesecake and a yummy drink.

Of course, some people make themselves a little too comfortable! It is a rare day when there isn't someone sleeping (and snoring!) in a cushy chair. We have had to ask couples to stop making out (awkward!) And a day that will live in bookstore infamy is the day that a manager walked in on a naked man sitting on the countertop in the bathroom with his heiny in one sink and his feet in the other. Too. Comfortable.

I feel proud to have helped create a place in our community that people want to visit and hang out. But just for future reference, never at any point during your visit to my store, should you EVER be naked. Just make it a rule, ok?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Something Is Fishy

Christian won a goldfish at the elementary school chili supper (thanks teachers!) I am not thrilled with the new pet responsibility but luckily Hannah is quite willing to feed him (and talk to him, and try to give him gum, and help clean his bowl.) The kids have named the fish Larry and we just happened to have a spare fishbowl around from a previously "won" goldfish that he can live in. I think next time I go to the school to volunteer, I will bring the teachers a pet hamster as a token of my appreciation for the fun new pet.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sort of Like Sophie's Choice, Except Not Really

When I was 16 I had lots of close friends, but only one best friend.  We had been inseparable since grade school.  In high school we double dated and spent weekends at each others houses and at the lake.  Then I fell hard for her next door neighbor.  Hard.  I was never one to ditch my friends for a boy, but I now had to split my time between my friend and my "oh-my-gosh,-isn't-he-cute,-I'm-so-in-looove" boyfriend.  My friend started to get annoyed when I would make plans with "boyfriend" in that "no really, it's fine, just...whatever" kind of way.  The final nail in the coffin of our friendship was Christmas  when I received a beautiful sterling silver floating heart necklace from my friend.

 I loved it and put it on right away.  Then "boyfriend" gave me his present:  a beautiful gold floating heart necklace.  

He saw the one already hanging from my neck and was crushed so I immediately took the silver one off and put the gold one on.  Day after day I swapped out necklaces until my neck was rubbed raw with the desire to please everyone and I was so confused that I could no longer keep up with who gave me gold and who gave me silver.  I had to make a choice.  I put on the gold necklace and stuck with it.

23 years later and whenever I see my friend (which is surprisingly often), I still feel really sad that we are just a smidge above strangers.  Especially since the silver necklace was prettier anyway. If only the internet had been around, I could have Googled "Floating heart necklace" and viola! Problem solved! Friendship saved! Stupid non-existent internet of the 80's.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Party at Aunt Elaine's

Aunt Elaine had a party at her house.  She fed, entertained, and cleaned up after us.

Here is Hannah swiping Gracie's hot dog while Gracie was looking the other way.  I'm afraid she learned this trick from the master, her Papa.

And Gracie's reaction.
This is Jack, he lives next door and is adorable!!
Hannah's cousin Gracie is just the sweetest little girl. 
And the newest cousin addition, Ezra, is going to be 1 soon!

Just in case you can't quite catch the conversation, Gracie is saying, "I will give you one of mine (grapes)."  Hannah says, "Thank you, Gracie, that is so nice."  

Is all this sweetness getting to you?  Well, you should thank your lucky stars that there are no videos of the meltdown that happened later (Hannah's, not Gracie's).  It is important to ensure that naps have happened before you attend parties.  The end.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Song Most Similar to a Train Wreck....You Know, the Kind You Can't Look Away From?

I don't feel that this can be debated.  It's not even my opinion, it is just a simple fact.

This song is on the current loop of Muzak at the store.  I have the overwhelming desire to run from the store screaming, but I don't think that would be a good example for my booksellers, so instead I go to the office and sing along.  Go ahead and mock me now, but I know that next week you will be wandering around singing "I'll be your belly dancer, prancer, and you can be my sheik."  

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Personification of the Heart

How did the heart become the organ for love?  Because of my lack of important things to wonder about and utter worry free world, I am fascinated by the way this organ is personified in literature, music, and film.  The heart is often referred to as "broken" or "crushed", people can "rip it out and stomp on it."  Things are described as being done "half hearted", sometimes the heart "cries out" for something.

Heart necklaces are often given as gifts, but would they lose their charm 
if instead of receiving this:
You received this? 
Or, how would you feel if you received the organ more accurately accountable for our feelings?
The Brain on a Chain

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cassie's Favorite Things

Tonight Cassie, Holly and I were in the car playing the drop off game. Cassie was going to a sleepover and Holly had a middle school dance. Cassie was, as usual, gabbing incessantly. Enough to make my ears bleed. So much that I had to take control of the situation. I couldn't be the one to answer the questions anymore. I started asking her what her favorite random things were. She seemed to enjoy the questions, but the amazing thing to me was that she didn't have to stop for even a second to weigh her options before answering. That, and the fact that she answered as if she was on a talk show, beginning every answer with "I would have to say".

So, now that the monologue is over, we can move on to the interview portion of our show:

"What is your favorite color?"
These are Cassie's responses to my questions, verbatim-ish, minus the dramatic hand gestures.
"I would have to say purple, but not light purple and not dark purple, because dark purple is almost blue and I really don't like blue that much. Light purple is too light, you know, almost like pinkish? I like pink, but purple is better."
"What is your favorite girl name?"
"I would have to say Nicole. Because it is my middle name and if I had babies I would name a girl Nicole. But, I'm not sure if I'm going to have babies, because I might just want to have puppies. Puppies are just so cute. I don't know if I want to get married, so it would be better to have dogs. I really like dogs. You know, little ones that can live in the house with me so I won't be lonely? But I like babies too, so I'm just not sure."
"What is your favorite fruit?"
"I would have to say watermelon."
I waited patiently for a more detailed explanation of her love for watermelon but none came. Just watermelon. 'nuff said.
"What is your favorite cereal?"
"I would have to say those square things that Daddy buys, that has the blue stuff on it? I like the strawberry ones too, but the blue ones are better. I hope we buy more of those. I would say Cocoa Pebbles, but I am too attracted to them and they are too sugary. You know, like they rot your teeth?
"What is your favorite month?"
"I would have to say December. Not just because of Christmas, but because we are out of school and we get to spend time with our families and people we don't see very much."

Yeah, right.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What a Good Mommy!

She will allow the cameras to roll during bedtime, but once the babies are asleep, Hannah becomes a fierce mama bear and makes the paparazzi leave.  She says, "Sweet dreams, don't let the bednogs bite"  I'm not sure what a bednog is, but she tells me this every night.  Do you hear the vast amount of grunting and groaning that comes with putting babies to bed? Rest assured that she did not hear this from me.  I never grunt or groan when bending over.
P.S.  Sorry that her hair makes her look like Little Lord Fauntleroy, but the piggy tails had just come down.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Spoiled Rotten

The good part about a visit from Grandpa Ken- You get a sucker as big as your head that will take approximately 2.6 years to consume at one lick at a time.
The bad part about a visit from Grandpa Ken- Hannah gets a sucker as big as her head that will take her approximately 2.6 years to consume at one lick at a time.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Am Brave

I am.  Super brave, really.  At the bookstore I have handled all sorts of ickiness.  You wouldn't think icky would be the case at a bookstore, would you?  But sometimes it really is.  Mostly I am not squeamish and can clean up all sorts of messes without gagging or needing backup.  I am opposed to surprises, however.  Like the other day, for instance.  I walked past something lying in the middle of the store.  I was just far enough away to not be able to 100% identify the item.  From where I was standing it looked like a mouse.  A dead mouse.  Lying in the middle of the floor.  I knew rationally that it couldn't be a mouse, since we have never had one before and I'm sure we never will.  I can deal with cleaning up a mouse, I just can't be surprised by one.  So I asked a co-worker to go check it out.  I told her that I would do the clean up, I just needed to what sort of mess I was walking into.  So, she did.  The brave soul walked right up and checked it out.  Then she bent over and picked up that little plastic hippo.  Then she made fun of me.  Rightfully so. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rare Shark Facts

Hannah invented a very fun game.  It is played on the pool cover and scaffolding for the fireplace.  There are few tools required:  a long stick and a bucket of goggles.  Here's how you play:  one person (Hannah) yells "shark" and points at a spot on the pool cover, the second person (Mommy) is to poke at the shark with the stick while standing on the "island"- this is where scaffolding comes in handy.  But wait!!! You thought this game was just about poking sharks, right?  No, there are also friendly sharks that you must feed with....goggles from your trusty bucket.  You must also try to coax them out of the water to dance with you on the island.  We hold hands and dance around in a circle singing a song that only Hannah knows.  With the friendly ones, of course.  Everyone knows that grumpy sharks do not dance.  We played for two hours tonight until Hannah, Mommy and all the sharks were very tired.  To summarize, here are some things you may not have known about sharks:
  1. There are friendly sharks and grumpy sharks.
  2. Poking grumpy sharks with a stick is just the thing to do.
  3. Friendly sharks like to eat goggles.  Keep a bucket handy.
  4. Sometimes they will dance with you on your island.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Buck Naked

Hannah has always been a bit of an exhibitionist.  Sometimes she hears music and quick as a flash unzips her feetie pajamas in one move and shakes her little booty.  I guess the girl needs to get her groove on without restrictions.  Lately however, she wants to do everything "buck naked".  This is her phrase, not mine.  I'm not sure where she heard it or in what context, but whatever.  
"Mommy, can I eat breakfast buck naked?"
"Mommy, can I get in the car buck naked?"
"Mommy, can I go to the store buck naked?"
To which I always answer no.  Today when I said no, she asked "Just a smidge, Mommy?"  A smidge buck naked? Hmmmm, no.

According to this article it is perfectly acceptable to use this phrase (yes, I spent time googling "buck naked".)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bouncy Ball Bathtime with Barbie

Cassie keeps her collection of bouncy balls in her Barbie dreamhouse bathtub.  She takes them out and counts them frequently.  There are 12, by the way. While she shares most things very well, the bouncy balls are really not up for grabs.  They belong to her, no questions asked.  She may let you toss one around, but let it be known that she will not take her eyes off it and will be a smidge agitated until the ball returns to its rightful place in the bathtub.   Apparently these bouncy balls are decoration balls.

The bouncy balls are not the only thing she squirrels away.  It's like she was born during the Depression, or has 18 siblings, or is in prison.  Every corner of our house is subject to Cassie's stashes.  It is not uncommon to move a chair and find a few pennies, a piece of  candy and a bracelet shoved way back in the corner of the room.  I always feel bad when I do a massive cubby clean out and put all her little treasures back in her room, but she's sort of like a dog that forgets where he buries his bone.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Hog of the Bandwidth

Karma can be a real stinker.  You remember about the ban right?  I brought the laptop with me to Chattanooga because I am addicted to you people.  When I arrived in my cozy hotel room I immediately plugged in and logged on.  No problem.  I checked my normal sites (Hi Rachel, Mrs. G, Hannah, Melanie, Mary Jo, Jason & Amanda!!!) then went to iTunes to see what's up.  I downloaded a tv show I missed last week and went to bed.

After work the next day I met an old friend for dinner and then went back to the hotel.  I tried to log on and couldn't so I called the front desk to help me.  Here was the diagnosis:  It's not us, it's you.  This is not the first time I've heard this.  I decided that I could live without you all for one day, so I read a bit, did some work and went to bed.  I felt confident that all would be well in the morning.  Because of magic computer stuff that happens in the night, you know.

Today, after work, I still had computer issues.  I had to get it fixed.  A day without Mrs. G is like a day without sunshine for goodness sake!  Finally, I found a number for tech support on the hotel modem.  After trying various fixes that computer dude talked me through to no avail, he suddenly said, "I think I see the problem, I must talk to my supervisor."  After quite some time he got back on the phone and asked if I had downloaded a "large, ummmm, movie perhaps?"  I said, yes, actually I did download something last night.  I was informed that the download was so large that I used 80% of the hotel's total bandwidth and because of this I was banned from the internet. My deep, dark secret was out.  I realized that computer dude thought I was downloading vast amounts of porn, but really, it was just a two hour episode of The Biggest Loser.  When I told him this, he laughed profusely at me and told me next time to watch it at home.  Then he lifted my ban.

Stupid karma.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Customer Is Not Always Right

I'm not sure who came up with idiotic saying, but sometimes the customer is just wrong.  Really wrong.  I can let them be right about the temperature of the store, or the fact that we moved the bathrooms to a different location, or that we are a Starbucks because we sell Starbucks coffee, or the other little things that they are wrong about so often.  But they cannot be wrong to my booksellers, or my other customers.  And by wrong I mean WRONG, as in "That's just so WRONG!"  Because I will mess you up, man.  And by mess you up man, I mean I will formally declare you banned from the store until March 1, 2011.  Which is what I did today.

During the holidays a woman and her teenage daughter came in the store looking for an out of stock item (Twilight Boxed Set for those of you playing at home.)  When she was informed that it was out of stock she began demanding random things for free because of her trouble.  "What can you give me since I drove here to buy that and now you don't have it?"  "Can I have this other Twilight book free?"  "Can I have a cookie and drink for free?"  She finally left with the Twilight books and a 10% discount.
She came back last week and verbally attacked one of my booksellers.  The nastiest, ugliest thing ever said in my bookstore.  Then she insulted everyone else in the cafe one by one until a manager found out what was going on and got the crazy out of the store.
Today she came in and started immediately asking for discounts on things.  I stopped her and told her that she was no longer welcome in this store, that her behavior was unacceptable and that she would have to leave immediately.  She was shocked and told me that I couldn't prove anything, that maybe it was her twin sister.  She asked why I had to ban her forever, couldn't I just ban her for 1 or 2 years?  So I lifted the restriction from forever to just 2 years.  But, apparently that wasn't specific enough because she wanted know the date in which she would be allowed to enter the store again.
If you were planning on buying a book, I'd make other plans on March 1, 2011.  Might want to mark it on your calendar.  I know I will.

Friday, February 6, 2009


The faster things are delivered to us, the more impatient we become.  The more options we have, the more confusing things get.
The other day I stood behind a woman at the grocery store who couldn't get out of the door.  She couldn't get out because you had to manually push the glass door open and she was just standing there waiting for the doors to automatically open.  I was truly shocked at how long the woman waited before she finally pushed the door open.  Then, instead of being completely embarrassed at how silly she looked, she had the nerve to be mad at the door.  How dare that door not open when I step forward?  What kind of place is this?

I went to an elementary school yesterday.  Of course before I was allowed in the school I had to check in on a computer.  This computer had big, primary colored words that walked you through the checking in process.  It was pretty self explanatory.  Except I guess not, because someone had labeled the top of the computer "THIS IS NOT A TOUCHSCREEN!"  That made me wonder:
What finally drove the mystery labeler to put that sentence on the computer?  Was it that she had been asked a gazillion times why the computer wasn't working?  Was it that she finally lost it and screamed at some poor mommy volunteer "IT'S NOT A TOUCHSCREEN, YOU BIG DUMMY!" and then the principle made her go to anger management classes and this was what they suggested?  Was it that the first few years of laughing at people pounding at the screen to no avail was a ton of fun, but lately...not so much?  Was the day she finally put that label on that computer a better day?  Does she now get super irritated at people who still touch the screen?  Is she just opposed to fingerprints on her screen (there are people like that...Paul?)  Did she think it was funny to then put the mouse on the wrong side so that it truly was a little difficult to see?  Maybe she is just a helpful person that would like everything to come with easy to read instructions.  
Perhaps I have spent too much time thinking about this.

I went shopping a while ago.  For clothes.  For me, just to clarify.  I went into the ladies room and was washing my hands when I got temporarily confused by the process.  I couldn't get the paper towels to come out.  I went from one dispenser to the other, I waved my hands around, I investigated underneath to see if I could figure out the inner workings of the machine.  Then a very nice lady politely walked in front of me and lightly pressed the bar that dispensed the towels.  I explained to her that this was the first time I had ever been in a store, so she should just excuse me.  The next time I was in this store I noticed that they too have a mystery labeler who put a very helpful "PUSH HERE" label on the paper towel dispenser.  If you see a connection between me and the lady standing at grocery door waiting to get out, you are wrong, and possibly a little hateful.  You see, I had the decency to be completely mortified.  And may I also add that the computer at that school?  It was just asking to be touched what with those bright colors and big words and all.  I was tempted, but I follow rules, especially when I am in a school.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Two Peas in a Pod

Cassie and Hannah, these two crack me up.  Their relationship started a little slow.  When Hannah first came home from the hospital Cassie was interested, but only vaguely.  I think mostly she was annoyed at this baby that cried and demanded attention and had immediate needs that had to be met.  A bit like a certain 5 year old who had been the baby in the family for quite some time.  In the past year though, these two have become inseparable.  Hannah wants to be right there by Cassie's side at all times and Cassie is usually a pretty good sport about it, unless of course, Hannah wants a bouncy ball or bubble gum (the two things Cassie treasures above all else and finds nearly impossible to share.)  If Cassie had her way, the two of them would have matching outfits every day of the week.  I often find them in deep conversation with Cassie seriously explaining something and Hannah nodding intently.  The other day I walked in on a conversation about all the pets we have had and how each one died (Note to pets- don't come here to live).  For the next several days Hannah kept saying things like "I really miss my dog Duke.  He should have looked both ways." and "Poor Bun-bun."  Cassie does not like to spare details. 

Tonight Hannah really showed me how she feels.  She has been quite sick all evening and all she wanted (after Mommy of course) was Cassie.  What she actually said was "I need Cassie."  So sweet.

Worry Wart

Everyone worries about their kids.  I get that.  I got that before I had kids because I knew how my parents worried about me.  I guess I anticipated the worry about health issues.  You know, will they fall down the stairs and break a bone?  Are they eating enough vegetables?  Is that fever too high, should we go to the hospital?  What I didn't anticipate was the worry about EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING.  All the time.  It seems like I just stop worrying about one thing when something else comes up.  I worry about the people they are, the people they will become, the things they say, the things I say.  What if I forget something major that I am responsible for teaching them?  What if I give the wrong answers?  What if?  What if? And this is all while they are still too young to go anywhere without an adult.  How do people survive the teenage years? 
I have polled people at work and from what I hear it doesn't go away, ever, it just changes.  Like right now, I bet my mother is worrying about me.  (Aren't you, Mama?)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Result of a Hard Day's Work

Holly and Hannah all bundled up ready to go sledding. 

Hannah and I are ready to go sledding or possibly rob a bank.  I think Paul's coveralls are quite flattering and I may start wearing them to work.  Let the record show that I am wearing long underwear and a pair of jeans under these coveralls.  
Our poor snow woman started up straight and wound up attempting a backbend without a spotter.  She is quite the athlete.  She held this pose for a whole day before we found her poor body broken in two.

Hypothetical Question

So, let's just say that you are parking your car in a parking lot.  Let's say it is a bookstore parking lot.  You get out of your car and look to the car next to you.  You see a woman curled up in the fetal position in the front seat sleeping.  Her car is on and she has her phone next to her.  It appears that the alarm is set on the phone, but maybe not, because the phone seems too fancy to understand. 
You have a few choices to make.  Do you:
  1. Stand at the window and stare for a very long time because only strange people sleep in their car?
  2. Talk as loud as you can while getting out of your car, laugh with your friends at the old lady sleeping in her car, then go into the bookstore to mess up the Manga section?
  3. Quietly shut your car door and go into said bookstore to spend a lot of money on books and coffee, all the while thinking good thoughts for the poor lady sleeping in her car because obviously she stays up until 2 am blogging?
If you chose anything other than #3, I am sad to say that we are no longer friends.  OK, I might accept #1 but if you chose #2 you are dead to me.  Hypothetically.