Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Everything

We called Santa last night. It was so magical. It made me all teary seeing the joy and belief and excitement in her eyes. We'd been telling her that Santa won't come unless she's asleep. So after a family party with Chuck's aunts, uncle and cousins, we came home last night and called Santa at 11:40 pm. And sure enough, one of Santa's helpers answered the phone, told us Santa had just left Mississippi and was on his way to Tennessee. She said she was calling from Minnesota and he responded with "You better hurry up to bed. Santa won't come until your asleep. And he's headed your way." She ran upstairs right away and jumped right into her bed. It was such a wonderful moment for me as a parent, to see her sheer joy and absolute belief that he was coming. It made me all ferkelmpt and filled with warm fuzzies.

If you don't know about this, read the following article. It was all because of a typo.

Merry Christmas, Friends!! Much love to all! And may you have a sweet moment that reminds you of the spirit of the season!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

In Love

I'm sitting here watching the last Harry Potter movie on cable for the zillionth time, he's asleep on the couch next to me, I'm surfing Pintrest cause I'm a girl and it's one of the many inane things we do and it's a simple Saturday night.

And I couldn't be more in love.

I'm going to get stupid sappy on you now. So either prep yourself or hit the back button on your browser and get out while you can!
We've been together nearly 4 years. We're in it to win it. We've hosted for 4 Thanksgivings, one for each year. And every year it goes off without a hitch.

We compliment each other better than I thought possible.
He stays busy in the kitchen and I fill beverages.
He lets people help when they ask and I free up a seat for their tired feet.

I didn't think an understanding and an appreciation for another person could be felt so deeply. I really feel like I've found my other half.

Except for on nights like last night where I got all PMS-pissy and slept on the couch because I'm that girl who blows things out of proportion and he's all you're-crazy-I-love-you-but-I'm-going-to-sleep. Which then leads to me be all I-can't-believe-your-asleep-while-I-wallow-in-my-self-made-sobfest.

And then we wake up, sheepishly apologize, genuinely say "I love you" and move on.

See? Compliment. Understanding. Balance. Other half.

This whole post was moved from this silly lil' picture I found on-line
It made me smile and giggle and think "that isn't really us. I don't think. But I totally get what they are saying."

Love. It's a tricky business. It twirls things within so much that it's hard to tell if they were originally within you or grew from something. Or both. Love. It makes you put your dumb self out there for the other to poke at and say "I'll keep that dumb stuff." Love. It creates an understanding of "You're an idiot" equals "I adore your crap." Love. It makes you feel whole when you didn't think you weren't.

My wine glass is empty, he's still sleeping next to me and I this is right where I want to be. If you'll excuse me, I need to go be in love with my life.

And in love with love.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Emotionally Investing

There is no feeling like the vote of confidence you get for being recognized for a job well done. I'm one of the lucky ones who work for a company that does just that. It was 2 years ago this month that I was preparing to leave a very ungrateful place of employment. (There are a few posts you can go back and read to understand my frustration then and appreciate my feelings now. Start here. And then the new job post here. And then the reason why I do what I do here.)

But man oh man, in the past few months I've been acknowledged for my abilities so many times over it's dizzying. In August we had our regional meeting and I was given 3 awards! Three, baby! One was from the COO for being number one in the company during a bean promotion. Another was a Team Hero award that my own district team gave me. They voted me as the team hero for the year and I got a little tiger paw award because as a district we "believe in holding back tigers not pushing elephants." And then I was given an award by regional manager for a core value. Our company has 4 core values and each year our regional manager gives an award for each value to a manager that exemplified that value. And mine was for Commitment to Unique Personality. No surprise there!
All my awards. Pretty cool, huh? I'm proud.

And then I find out that I get to travel to one of our coffee farms in January. And that coffee farm is in Coast Rica!! I was number one in the entire company for a bean promotion in the month of June and because of that was put in a nomination pool to go to the coffee farm where that bean comes from and I won!! The company sends 2 groups of 6 of company members that have excelled at something in their job. AND I GET TO GO! Before the bean promotion started my boss said that if our district was number one in the company, he would nominate the number one store manager to go to La Minita, Costa Rica. I wanted that trip and I held the number one spot for nearly the whole promo. I dropped to number 3 for a few days and then took it back and never let it go. And now I get to to go to our coffee farm, pick the coffee off the mountainside myself, meet the farmers, it's going to be life changing.

AND THEN.... about 3 days before I find out about the trip, my boss approached me with taking over one of the top 10 busiest stores in the company. It's a drive-through location and a million dollar a year store and I was nervous about the change. But to say no to the opportunity that he was willing to give me was just dumb. The door had been opened and I would have shot myself in the foot if I had said no. So I had made my decision on my drive home, I'll take the job. And 5 days before our biggest promotion of the year, I took on a beast of a store. And I have survived 3 weeks so far. No one has quit, and the store hasn't burned down. I do have my work cut out for me. I'm noticing the deeper I get into this store, the more work it is going to be. But, when I take a step back and look at my successes and the awards I was given, I know I can do this. I have a reputation to protect and I don't fail.

I was in the midst of writing this about a month ago and got side-tracked and didn't finish it until now. I'm 3 weeks and 2 days into my new store and am at the overwhelmed part. I have 5.5 days to meet my company goal, because you know my district strives to be the best and we all agreed to meeting goal on 10/21, even though the promotion goes until 10/31. I broke down at a meeting today, sometimes it's all too much. 95 pounds in 6 days. REALLY? And today when I voiced my concern, the tears welled up because my peer team and my boss are so supportive. I have 3 people coming to my store to help sell and I have refocused my energy into my top sellers and the ones who care. I'm reamping myself. I made a paper chain to cut off each link every time we sell a pound, I'm trying to create energy within my team to sell sell sell. It's big and scary and completely possible.

I have a quote at the end of my auto-signature on my work email "What you get be achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." -Henry David Thoreau

And I believe that is true.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cool Parenting Points

I did something very cool last Friday, I took a pre-teen to a "documentary" movie about her favorite boy band. I say documentary loosely because it wasn't nearly the level of National Geographic or those Ancient Aliens shows on Discovery or History channel or something. But it was a movie compiled of little interviews and moments from tour and live shows bits to make a surprisingly fun movie.

One Direction is a band compiled of five talented British boys. They took the pre-teen world by storm in the last 2 years thanks to Britain's The X Factor and Simon Cowel. All 5 boys auditioned separately and Simon thought they had something worth while and put them together. Low and behold, he was right. They are in the middle of a world tour right now and will be doing another one next year. And yes, I'm keeping my eyes out for tickets in the Minneapolis area.

That last paragraph will put me in the category of a DIRECTIONER. Click the word to find out, it'll make you giggle.

But seriously, I had a blast at this movie. I bought the tickets in advance, told her we were going via instagram. You know, took a picture of the confirmation, tagged her in it and put it on instagram. Cause I'm all hip like that. I told her she could even pick out my outfit. (Sadly, she didn't get home from her friends in time to do so, so I got to look like the smokin' step-mom that I am without her help.) We got our 3D glasses, our obligatory popcorn, candy and coke before hand and sat with bated breath, waiting for the moment when it would start and we could all "woo-hoo!!!" at the opening credits.

The whole movie made me very nostalgic for my New Kids on the Block days. I was in love with that late 80's-early 90's boy band. Their posters were all over my bedroom, I knew all their "fun" facts, had the doll, the game, every jewelry piece possible, and I KNEW I was meant to be with Donnie. He and I were SOOOO going to get married. Connecting those old memories to this night made it amazing for me. As I settled into this movie and accepted the fact that I really do like their music, they actually can sing, and are really charming and humble, I looked over at Miss K and my heart did a leap. Seriously, you guys I wish you could have seen her when the footage of the five band members playing "live! in concert" came on the big screen for the first time. She sat in the seat next to me, her Skittles in her lap and her too-big-for-her-face 3D glasses on, her eyes wide and her hands over her mouth in complete AWE. It was real. And she was SO their number one fan at that moment. That was my favorite everything about this event, watching her and remembering that feeling so well.

There are times in my step-parenting life that I question everything I do and who I am. But this night I did it right. I let her be her, love what she did for the same reasons, completely embraced why we were there and fell for her and who she is even more. And One Direction, listen to them. They are cute and man, they make some catchy music. For reals.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I need to start writing again. I miss being able to sit and put my thoughts down onto paper or the interwebs. You know, just somewhere that it can be looked at again. I do carry a notebook with me nearly all the time to write down ideas, things I want to remember, funny anecdotes, the latter of those usually is something that makes me howl with laughter while I'm drinking. And then going back and looking at it sans booze, it's still funny (if I can read it that is.)


Writing. I miss it. I have the time I just choose to use that time for other things. What specifically those things are, I can not pinpoint right now. I need to pull out my ideas books and my little notebooks that I write my ideas down in. I need to delve into what makes my mind run.

I should actually go do that right now. Rather than writing about how I want to.

And I'm out.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Good Day and a Few Photos

I feel like so much has happened in the last week that my heart and brain are going to explode. I need a day or 2 that is very uneventful to give all that is inside time to relax, decompress and escape if it's not needed any more.

Last Saturday we had Lily and took her to the Stone Arch Bridge Festival.
It was so much fun! Chuck works right down there so we parked for free, had a free beer at his work (yeah, is job is so cool that they have a keg of beer on tap) and took out to see the sights. Lily is now at an age where you don't have to keep an eye on her every moment, just every other. She doesn't need a stroller and will dawdle along with us. We got cotton candy, hot dogs, some french fries,another beer or two and meandered our way around. Listened to some music, looked at the river, looked at art and wanted to buy some very badly. Lots of photography, some ah-mazing! shots, some wicked cool jewlery, some just funky art pieces. I love festivals like this.

And then it started to rain. Not a oh-this-is-such-a-nice-summer-rain but a freaking downpour. And the whole thing is outside so we just had to walk through it all back to Chuck's work. We were totally those parents in flip flops with the drenched child shivering from feeling the need to finish her ice cream cone in the chilly rain all the while her face paint is streaking down her face. First class parenting right there. But we made it back, dried off because Chuck's work is also that cool that they have showers, towels and a dryer. And had another free beer while we waited for the rain to stop. I sat down with Lily at the big white-board and taught her how to play tic-tac-toe. And I did not teach her the rule of "Oh no no sweetie, my circle always stays in the middle."

Once the rain stopped we headed back out into the glorious sunshine. Seriously. It was beautiful out! We continued our walk and were determined to make it all the way to the actual Stone Arch Bridge, (which by the way, the festival isn't on the bridge at all.) We got talked into a SA-WEET deal with a photographer, a $500 photo session with a framed 5x7 in the end all for $50. Yes please!! We're all really excited for that. I was particularly excited, family photos with this great family I've gained, oh man, does that sound awesome!!

He was teaching her to skip stones.

It was such a good day. It was easy and carefree and no agenda. Chuck and I realize we travel very well together with no agenda. We rocked Chicago for a weekend (in fact I need to blog about that awesome time!) But not having plans and just going with the flow totally works for us. Lily didn't have any tantrums (surprisingly, to me) Chuck and I totally enjoyed ourselves and each other and the sun came out after a big, fat rain.

And lastly, my favorite photo from that day...

Seriously. Makes me melt.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A First for Me

Those aren't just any old postcards. They are my very first Mother's Day cards! I was given 3! And each of them warmed my heart so so much!

The girls gave me one that said something like "Ever though you're not our mom, Happy Mother's Day!" Too cute! And Lily signed it too, she has the best signature right now, there is a big circle over her 'i' and her 'y' is sometimes backwards and surely none of the letters are the same size. And Kira is really working on her actual cursive signature.

Chuck's made me cry and still makes me well up every time I read it. We're both so thankful for the other and how much we've added to each other's lives. I'm so touched that he took a moment to write to me from the heart. I really got lucky with this one!

And my aunt sent me one. What a lovely surprise! She reminded me that there are many mother's in this world and all are lucky that come in contact with them. Thank you, it meant a lot to me.

I'm keeping those little gems on my mantle for a little while. :)

Monday, May 13, 2013


History is made.

Minnesota is the 12th state to pass marriage equality and it makes me cry tears of happiness.

I have so many friends that can benefit from this. I have so many friends that have felt less than others because of this. Not to mention the millions of people that I don't know that can celebrate today. Now we all have the chance to experience the joy of divorce.

Just kidding.

Love is love is love. Everyone should be allowed to love whomever they choose. The fact that this had to be voted on in the first place is ridiculous. If being straight and being able to get married had to be voted on in this day and age, imagine the uproar. But the fact that it passed is what is important.

Being in a relationship is hard work. It takes commitment and communication and trust and everyone should be able to choose all that comes with that relationship. All the legal benefits, all the pride to be able to say "This is my wife/husband.", all the joy of standing up in front of your loved ones and committing yourself to someone else forever, all the inner-calm you get knowing someone is yours.

Marriage equality. It's about damn time. Thank you, Minnesota. You did the right thing.

In spirit of the moment here is this song again SAME LOVE Listen to it. Really listen to it. And then do it again. And let the tears fall.

Love. Equality. Good stuff.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Am I?

"Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

"Forgiving isn't something you do for someone else. It's something you do for yourself. It's saying, You're not important enough to have a stranglehold on me. It's saying, You don't get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future."

I read both of those quotes in two different books lately and they have really stuck with me. Am I at a point in my life where I am ready to forgive, let go, move on, no longer hold that resentment? Am I willing to forgive not to give the satisfaction to someone else, but for me to move onward and upward?

And then there is this one, "A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn."

I'm so thoughtful tonight. Funny that all these great quotes aren't mine. But they are making me think nonetheless.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Collection of Thoughts

A few years ago I took a writing class just to do something for myself. A part of me was also hoping at the end of that class I'd magically have an editor, publisher and 3 book deals in my grasp. Alas. I learned one has to work for those things. Yet I still write, again because I can.

During this writing class I used to have to take my computer out of the apartment because I would find everything to do in the house but write. Oh hey, I haven't scrubbed the toilet in a long time. Or you know what, I should arrange my CD's according to genre. Or maybe I'll try and clean the outside of my windows on my second floor apartment. So I'd make myself leave the house with just my class materials, an inspirational book or two, my computer and I'd leave the charger at home. Not only would I have to write because there was nothing else to do, but I'd also have to beat the clock. Finish the assignment before my battery died. The tactic worked. I completed my assignment. I completed the course. And I still write.

Tonight, I'm on my deck. The same deck my grandpa and his friends built when I was 9 years old. That is so awesome. Every day Chuck and I talk about how grateful and lucky we are to be in this house. Mom, again and again, THANK YOU. I just went for a run, am feeling calm and refreshed at the moment and am waiting for my partner in crime to come home with wine and dinner. Lucky indeed.

That calm and refreshed feeling is so valued right now because I've been feeling very tightly wound lately. Work is stressful and I am counting down the days till my vacation. When I'm not at work, I'm trying hard to disengage from it. You know you work too much and need some time away when you dream about work. A few nights ago it was dream after dream of all the ways, ridiculous as they could get, that my milk order could get messed up. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to dream about ordering milk?! There is so much I'm trying to do, so many things to check off my list, so many people to be in continuous contact with, and I'm tired. I'm trying to be more organized to see if that cuts down on my stress and makes me prioritize. I think it's working, although I've only been doing it for a week.

You know what is wonderful right now? THE WEATHER! I tell you, last week when it snowed, I would've given a finger for some 80 degree weather. I saw something on line that said "The first person to complain about the heat this summer is getting punched." I concur. I painted my toes on Friday, put on some peep-toe shoes, a tank top with a loose sweater and I rocked out this warm weather! It was fantastic!

I'm really looking forward to my vacation in a month. We're going to Chicago for a friend's wedding and making a little trip out of it. It's a Sunday night wedding, we're going there on Friday, hopefully seeing a baseball game, going to that big metal bean thing in downtown, and my BFF Ryan will be with us too. And then Sunday rocking it out with the best of friends as another one gets hitched. I'm just so excited to be away from things for a while. I need to disengage. Mostly from work. Note to self, 9 months is too long to not have more than 2 days off a week.

It's getting dark and a tad chilly. And I want to go read my book. The Lost Van Gogh, a suspense, mystery thriller involving murder and a discovered Van Gogh art piece. Think Da Vinci Code sans religion. May this week be good to you and that you find time to be calm and refreshed as well.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 18th, 2013

This is what today has become. A f***ing blizzard. IN APRIL! That is some serious bullshit.

3 things that piss me off about this weather.
1. I am so damn tired of putting on a coat and having a hat and mittens readily available and my boots still sitting by the door.
2. I refuse to shovel which in turn means that Chuck has to. Well he doesn't have to but because he's a good person he does. And I feel bad that I'm not doing. (But not bad enough to actually do it. So maybe this isn't too bad.)
3. It's April. I want to garden. I want my windows open and my music being heard down the block. I want fresh air coming into my house. And I CAN'T BECAUSE IT'S FREAKING SNOWING!!! all caps means I'm yelling.

Moving on.

3 things that were good about today.
1. Work went well, I was able to work my way through last month's profit and loss statement myself. It felt good, I've never been good at breaking down my business numbers-wise, but today I did it and I mostly knew what I was talking about.
2. I came home to my whole family sitting on the couch. The girls are here for the night and it's a bit of a busier house when they are here. I like it.
3. I'm still reading a really good book. I want an afternoon to just finish it but I don't want it to end. I love that.

And this is just a bit of good nerdy book humor. This happened to me yesterday during lunch. Middle of my book, an oh shit moment, and everyone in the restaurant is going on like nothing happened!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Same Love

This song.

Gets me every time. Listen to the words. Then go back and listen again.

Love is patient. Love is kind.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

3 Good Things

I've been having an internal tug-of-war for a while now. One side, I love my life. On the other, people are getting pregnant, engaged, married and I'm doing none with no plans for any of that.

I know, I know. Waaaahhhhhmmmbulance. Cry me a river, grass is always greener, these are first world problems, bla bla bla. But doesn't a girl get a little "when is it my turn?" whining once in a while?

No? Not at all? Well apparently not. Because a few nights ago when I was silently crying in bed and Chuck noticed, he hugged me and said "Babe, we have it good. We don't need to be married to have a healthy relationship. We have a good house filled with love and 2 children that need us. Now go to sleep, it will all seem small in the morning."

And he was right. Damnit. I'm lucky in love in so many ways. Now quit yer bithcin', Riley. (I even wrote a whole post all woe-is-me that night. Have since deleted it. Turns out all that was a moo point. A cow's opinion. Just didn't matter after a bit.)

So in the spirit of years past, when I was down and out and needed self-help cheering-up, here are my 3 good things from today.
1. I wore bright blue tights and dress to work today. With the snow in April, I woke up and looked out the window and thought "Screw you Mother Nature. I'm looking cute today."
2. I got in some solid reading time today. I'm reading the newest Jodi Picoult book. I love her writing. And after this, I'll probably get in some solid reading time in bed. With wine.
3. I talked on the phone with my best friend tonight. It was only 13 minutes and it was mostly about a trip we're all going on next month, but God, I love talking to him. It's like we saw each other yesterday, we laugh and make fun of each other in an adoration sort of way.

Life is good. Life keeps moving. I just need to stay in it and focused on the awesome.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hello Running, I've Missed You

"No on should run unless being chased with a knife."

Man, am I eating those words now. Thank god. Thank myself for doing it. Thank my partner for pushing me. Thank my boss for getting me into my first 5K. Thank my own will to not give up. I'm a runner.

Or at least I was. And then I moved out of an apartment that had a treadmill and into a house that only had, god forbid, just the outside. Gasp! And then winter came. I hate winter for the fact that running is harder in the cold and snow. I haven't run in months and I have no reason except excuses.

So today I ran. And it was awesome. I ran without thinking "I'll walk at the next block." Instead it was "I think I'll run for one more block before I turn for home." It was refreshing and uplifting and so good to feel in my body and know in my heart that I still got it. Running wasn't a fluke for me last summer. Running has become something I like and I have missed for the past few months. It's something that I think I need to do. It's something I feel I need to do.

Today I ran. I ran in a sweatshirt that was too big, pants that were too short and leg warmers that eventually became just ankle warmers but I ran. No matter the flood pants or the baggy shirt, I'm back to running! I've missed it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fancy Tradition

My family. They are so precious and wonderful and loved. We were headed out to see the Christmas Carol with my mom and her beau on the first big snow of the season. I needed a picture of us, this was the nicest all four of us had looked at once, ever. It needed to be documented.

My mom has taken me to see the Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theatre every year since I was 8. It's one of my favorite things about the holidays. Some of my favorite memories involve this play. I used to love to watch the Ghost of Christmas Present change every year, I remember trying to watch just the narrator on stage during one scene (he always wound up as the Ghost of Christmas Future and I was determined to watch him sneak into the back of the costume) and not being able to do so, looking at all the over-priced gifts in the gift shop, trying to decide between a cookie or a brownie. It is one of my favorite repetitive memories with my mom. And we've now incorporated Chuck, the girls and my mom's beau as well. It's a family thing. Chuck and I took the girls new-fancy-dress shopping a few days before too. I think we're going to make that part of our holiday traditions as well. The shopping was fun, I got new shoes, watching Lily run around the dressing room with each dress she tried on was so cute, and Kira trying to decide between the gold or the silver dress, such decisions.

This picture is now framed on our mantle and it makes me smile inside and out every time I look at it.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I work in coffee and have been in retail for 15 years but I tend to think of it as a people business that happens to serve coffee. I like people, I think they are interesting, I like to know what makes them tick, biologically and in matters of the heart. When I interview I have two questions that are the make or break questions of the interview and neither of them involve the product I sell.

1. Why do you want to work for this company?
If they are not totally stoked to be given the chance to come work for a company they admire, love, shop at, etc, and they just want a job, then I don't want them. I asked someone that many years ago and her answer was "My mom says I need to get a job." My response, "OK, we won't be calling you." I need my interviewee to want the job not just a job.

And 2. What are you passionate about?
If you have books upon books of stamp collections and you think there is no better animal than gerbils, that is great, you are so into something that there is no shame in telling anyone who asks. I asked that question to someone last year and he turned the color of a ripe tomato and as silent as one as well. That right there sealed the deal that I didn't want him as part of my team. You don't always have to be passionate about the job you have or the product you sell to get a job but you have to be passionate about something.

Which in turns bring me to my thought which started this post in the first place, passion, the fuel in your soul and the wind at your back to get you up and moving every day. I think if you don't have something to fuel your daily life, how do you ever expect to get anywhere? If money was no object, where would you invest your time and energy? Would you continue to be in the same job, living in the same city, doing what you do day in and day out?

People say that if they won the lottery they'd stop working, which I think couldn't be any closer to truth, but would you really have nothing that made you get out of bed every day? Would you move somewhere warm so you could garden everyday or would you stay where you are and get a groundskeeper job like Forrest Gump, just because you liked cutting the grass? Would you actually help those in need and volunteer like you have always said you would? Would you go open that wine tasting bar in an old house and invite local musicians to play on Friday and Saturday nights?

Passions can change. Says the girl who has a degree of the theatre masks on her ankle and a degree in it as well and who hasn't done a show in at least 5 years. What would I do if money was no object? Oh goodness, so many things! I might give acting a try (rejection is a bit easier when you don't have heat to pay and insurance to keep.) I'd travel for sure, I mean who wouldn't??!! But I'd take a class where ever I go, art history in Italy, World War II class in Germany, cooking in France, etc etc etc. I'd try out a self-employment idea that has been in my head for the past couple of years, a social butterfly sort of thing. I'd invest more time and more time into the story line that has been in my imagination for about 10 years. (I tried to write it as a play once and two scenes in I realized it was all stage direction. Uh, Riley a play needs the characters to talk to each other to tell the story. Novel it is then.) I might take a vacation with no end date. I might take all the road trips across the country that I wanted. The list could go on and on. I think it could be quite fun to literally be a student of the world.

I'm passionate about learning, people, growth, success, differences, similarities, human connection, food, coffee, reading, knowledge, hugs, love. If someone knows of a job that encompasses all of that, let me know. I could climb to the top of that corporate ladder quicker than anyone!