Tag Archives: Happy Place

In the sweet, summertime, summertime…

Sing it, Bob Seager.

OH MY GOD HOW IS IT ALREADY THE LAST DAY OF AUGUST?

You know what that means, right yo?

Jimmy turns 4o next month.

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This sweet face!

But it also means my favorite time of year is about to come to one sharp startling cold musty conclusion (save for what will likely be a glorious three-day, 90-degree spit of time at some point in October, when all the Facebookers of the world will whine with epic sadness and post photos of their in-dash thermometers reading 91 and text saying “WTF MOTHER NATURE” followed weeks later with a -21 and “WTF MOTHER NATURE” because no one is happy and Facebook makes us think that you and only you know how to read AND feel the temperature).

I don’t hate fall. I just love summer.

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Seriously. How do you not love a season that you spend like this? Or, in my younger days, like this:

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Could I BE any cuter? The cigarette is a nice touch. My friend Mannino calls fall “fat guy weather,” and I’ll give him that. Because I’ll also give him that no one is really comfortable with that drip of sweat rolling down your back, clearly headed for your crack and beyond, and you are powerless to stop it.

But I do get positively ragey over the oozy glee of the fall lovers. People who say things like “ooohhh I just LUURRVEEE my new COAT! I *TOTES LOVE* being able to put on my LEATHER BOOTS and WOOL SWEATERS!”

Who the hell loves a coat and boots and sweaters? Paraphiliacs, that’s who. Just call it a fetish and be done with it, don’t blame it on autumn, you freaks.

That’s right, I put a link there. You clicked it, didn’t you.

Freak.

Anyway, summer has come to a hot, sweaty, swift conclusion, and everyone is pleased with themselves for the time being, even though they’ll be complaining about the cold and snow soon enough.

I did have a productive summer. I hung out with a few friends:

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We totes fit in the frame.

I passed my new expertise of fine fashion on to James:

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There was Lucky Banana’s visit to the Cup.

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And of course, time with the boys.

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This summer, I learned several things.

I learned that I can be in a room in several naked women, all who have fake boobs, and I can put my hands all over these women, and in the end, it was not even the slightest bit exciting.

I learned that there is a lot of ugly behind the pretty. I cannot stress that hard enough.

I learned that women who are 6 feet tall, even when they are slender, are still 200 pounds, because they are 6 feet tall, and a 200 pound woman will crush the hell out of your toe when she steps on it.

I learned that Atlanta is in fierce competition with Baton Rouge for the actual portal to hell. But not to worry, I will make a kick ass zombie:

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I learned that giving me a stimulant will in fact make me drop 23 pounds (just say YES!).

I learned that models are my besties.

I learned that stitches between brothers are a competitive sport.

I learned that I have to keep the a/c on, because my sons have allergies simply too bad to cope with the great outdoors.

I learned that I am a legit fashion blogger.

I learned that I can still make new friends.

Alight, already. I’m ready for September. Technically, we still have a few more weeks of summer. So sorry, fat guys, let’s have a few more sweaty days. You can celebrate your fetish momentarily!

Happy last few weeks of summer, y’all!

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August 17…

No one becomes a grandfather, without first being a little boy.

Then and now…

Happy Birthday to my Daddy!

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Go thank yourself

So I’ve been having an issue with accountability lately. Seems that a whole lot of the things that I had regularly engaged in as part of an effort to keep myself sane have just gone out the window.

Food — I eat it all, who needs moderation? Not me, I’ll tell ya.

School — why check backpacks, Jimmy will do it.

Television — Okay, okay, not exactly a priority, but as far as down time that I frankly owe myself, well, I have yet to watch a single episode of The Closer.

This space — if there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s the sound of my own voice, which translates in these here internets to my blog. More than a month! I’ve skipped five weeks of doing something I enjoy. Bummer.

This month on the facepage, people have been doing something obscenely annoying totally introspective: The Month of Thanksgiving. Folks from all walks of life are taking time normally set aside for stalking ex-boyfriends and playing mafia wars to list one thing each day for which they are thankful. You know, for Thanksgiving. Because Thanksgiving in America is all about saying, “Hey Indians, thanks for the food, now step aside while we rape and pillage your land. Oh,  don’t worry, we’ll give you “reservations” where the earth is bruised and rocky and the water is completely non-potable but the Bingo far exceeds any expectation you saw in your latest hot sweat vision quest!” And nothing celebrates that sentiment quite like two sentence quips each day on an addictive website built by a millionaire teenage dork.

Well, I have NOT participated in the Month of Thanksgiving. But I am. Thankful, I mean, For all sorts of stuff. So I present to you, 30 days of thanks, all in one convenient package:

1 – Health. Food might be on my list of things I have been bad about, but at least Zumba Stacey keeps me in check. It’s nice to be able to move like you’re one big sass machine.

2 – Beer. How can anyone dislike a food that will trigger you to vomit if you’ve had too much? It’s barley and hops sponsored bulimia at its best.

3 – Teachers. Without them, I’d have to parent 24 hours a day. No thank you. I didn’t have kids so I could watch them.

4 – Naps. Did you ever notice the way children freak the hell out at even the suggestion that they settle down, let alone lie down, let alone close their eyes? Can you imagine if every single day someone said to you, go sleep for no less than 45 minites. Sweet mercy, I would be in heaven.

5 – Pooping. I’m sorry, that just feels great.

6 – Chocolate. I am not a sweet fiend, but even I can appreciate this one.

7 – Chicago. Everyone has their big city, even if they don’t live there. This one is mine.

8 – Aruba. I’ve never met you, but we have a date. January 4, 2014.

9 – The never-ending saga that is Law and Order. Man was I ever pissed when they canceled your flagship show. IT NEVER GETS OLD. bum-BUM!!

10 -Lady Gaga. Self explanatory.

11 -Selena Gomez.. Your songs are so catchy and my sons are deeply in love with you. Sure, I am totally afraid that the day will come when the very magazines I bought featuring you will become my son’s first stroke material. At which point I will want you banished from all things Disney. Just please don’t Lohan on me.

12 – Smart phones. THEY ARE SO SMART!!

13 – The First Amendment. Totally working for me.

14 – Divorce. Also totally working for me.

15 – Pitbull. Possibly the worst artist ever. But I have never in my life wanted so bad to find somebody sexy and tell them hey.

16 – The Omaha Morning Blend. Making my kids stars at least twice a year.

17 – The facepage SO. Don’t ask, it’s secret!!

18 – Makeup. Zits + splotchiness + 38-year-old woman = your eternal customer

19 – The Winchester Brothers. Damn you’re fine.

20 – Central air. Now hear me out. I despise manufactured cold air. I love few things in life the way I love to sweat in July. But with my love comes fear that the rest of the free world disagrees. And no one, especially me, wants to deal with my husband Sybil when the oppressive heat of summer refuses to let go. Even I know when it’s time to flip the switch.

21 – The oppressive heat of summer. That’s why I have both a front and a back porch.

22 – The Chicago Cubs. Because the only way to stay sane is to deal with eternal heartbreak.

23 – Boobs. They’re right there and even these old gals come in handy.

24 – The Happy Place. Where happiness takes place, 365 days a year. I know there is supposed to be some natural rivalry and lifelong disdain between the cheeseheads and the FIBS, but there are few things in this world as truly beautiful as rural Wisconsin. Just so long as we don’t have to collectively bargain to keep it that way.

25 – Kayla and Nancy. A girl ain’t nothin’ without some girls of her own.

26 – Three sisters and one brother, all of whom are in their 40’s. I am in my 30’s. Suck it hags.

27 – My Mom and Dad. I NEVER tell them how much I love and appreciate them. Because clearly, I am a shit.

28  – Jimmy. Seriously, what were the chances of that ever happening?

29 – My boys, Hank and George. If you’d asked me when I was younger if I’d have sons or daughters or a combination, I would have told you sons. It’s pretty much the one thing I was ever THAT right about. I love those kiddos. They are the best thing I have ever done.

30 – Peace, love and happiness. I have it. I should take the time to notice it a little more often.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Summertime, Summertime…

Sum-sum-summertime!

Oh how I love summer. Long and glorious summer!

Today on the facepage some friends were commenting about how they were excited about the impending fall. And I thought — bleh. SUMMER!

Jim and I had this conversation just the other day, how I have actual anxiety each year as fall approaches. Now let me first say, I very much appreciate living somewhere where the seasons change EXACTLY as they are meant to. Winter is white, spring is rainy and full of pretty flowers, summer is hot-hot-hot and fall is seriously beautiful changing of the colors. And while I hate being COLD, I don’t really hate winter. I strangely enjoy shoveling the driveway, and as the kids grow, so do the amount of outdoor winter activities in which we get to participate. Sledding = yay!!

Still, summer is my absolute favorite. Ab. So. Lute. And it makes me feel sad when it goes away.

This year I didn’t want summer to skip on past. So I literally worked on a daily basis to try to pack a lot of stuff into it. Which was not easy since it was about 100 degrees each and every day in the month of July. But we got lots of lake time, pool time, outdoor time when we could.  We tasted Chicago. We took actual tours of touristy stuff. Baseball was plentiful. We managed to take TWO trips that required a hotel stay, something which the boys find most awesome.

Then in July, I serioulsy mucked up my marriage:

Y’all! (that’s Louisiana for “Oh my God, guess what you guys!?” Easier to say, huh?) 

We ran. Three miles. Through mud and obstacles. Military style obstacles. I have never fallen down so hard and laughed so hard in my life.

We participated in the “Mudathlon” in Valparaiso, Indiana. When I ran the Shamrock Shuffle in the spring with my sister, there was a flyer for the Mudathlon in my swag bag. So I brought it home to Jim and said let’s do this. And since he’s never run a race before in his life, he was like, uh, ok.

There were points in this race where we were actually swimming. And once I fell so hard that Jim was torn between asking if I was okay and grabbing hold of his junk to prevent the laughter-inspired pee from coming out.

Y’all! (again — it’s a good expression)

This was POST-shower. The only horror of the entire race actually WAS the post shower. See, the Mudathlon people provide what is essentially a great big cage with water spitting down at you, so that you can make a feeble attempt to rinse yourself off before getting back in your car. And we rinsed here and there and got most of it off our faces, but knew there would be no real way to extract all of the caked on mud until we got home and could give ourselves a soak in our own showers.

So we thought.

As I entered the Mudathlon shower-cage, I ended up smack in front of a woman who had stripped down to her bra and underwear (no biggie, there were girls in bikinis, after all). But I swear to God, she moved her underwear to the side and began to AGGRESSIVELY clean out all her front side lady bits. Right. There. Rub-rub-rub. I think she might have pinched it. I chose to turn around and run for cover before she moaned with pleasure, only to see that Jim had already found a different spot far, far away.

So to recap – race = awesome. Accidental Hedonism = scary as hell.

Needless to say, my shower once I returned home also involved me washing out my eyeballs.

But July wasn’t over yet! My kids got their first taste of my previous profession — television news:

Oh my God, how cute is this?

Kayla came for a visit, but this time, she flew to Milwaukee. So she got us all a tour at her station’s SISTER station, WTMJ. Where the boys were not at all shy about plopping themselves on the set. I’m sorry, but they look like total naturals!

We spent a long weekend at my folk’s house at The Happy Place, but went to a Cubs-Brewers game while we were at it.

I can barely get Jim to even SMILE when he takes a picture with me. But bring along Kayla and her blonde hair and her long legs and suddenly he’s all kissy faced…

 
 
 
 
If that doesn’t look like fun times to you, well then… you are stupid.
 
And so has gone the summer. With scenes like these peppering it all over the place. And man, have I had fun.
 
School starts in a few days, and I am definitely still a little sad and anxious about the season coming to an end shortly. But dammit, I had a good time.
 
Bring on football.

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No, no…. Thank YOU!

Top 10 things I am thankful for this year:

1. Coffee. You are so delicious and wonderful and you help me both wake up AND poop. Thank you.

2. Summer. Sure, you are gone. But I love your heat and your humidity and the way you make cold beer taste even BETTER than it already does. Thank you.

3. Health. I mean, I feel like a fatty and I’m not as young as I used to be. But I am in pretty good shape (considering). And my parts all still work and I have more energy then I had back when I was a 24-year-old skinny smoker. Thank you.

4. Karaoke. Self-explanatory. Thank you.

5. The Happy Place. No matter how often I go or what time of year it is, I feel a little empty and sad when I leave. There are only a few places in this world where I would love to be at any given moment, and the Happy Place is at the top of the list.  Thank you.

6. That doctor who cut out my mom’s colon cancer. Cancer sucks. Removing cancer is awesome. Thank you.

7. Kayla & Nancy. More than just friends, they are the sisters I never had (even though I actually have three sisters). I feel pretty confident that if I needed them, they would hop on a plane as soon as humanly possible. Kayla is the second most generous person I know (very closely behind my mother) and for God’s sake, Nancy delivered her own child all by herself. My mother always told me how important it was to have girlfriends, and she was right. I am lucky to have the two of them, and distance and time don’t seem to make a difference. I don’t tell them enough how much I really love them. Thank you.

8. Family. Who else can know what a pain in the ass you are on a regular basis, but still invite you over for turkey and beer? Thank you.

9. Jim. That man makes me laugh. Thank you.

10. My boys. Nothing says that you have a good life better than two little boys who love each other so very much:

Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Dads, daughters and dookie

It all happened several summers ago.

There we were, enjoying the Happy Place. For those of you unfamiliar with the Happy Place, it looks like this:

This is Lake Jordan from my point of view, former home of the fabulous Clearwater Resort, current home of fun, sun and Karaoke Bob. Those are my feet. If you look closely, there is something on my big toe. If I had to guess, I would say it was food. The Happy Place is also the messy place.

This is what children look like in the Happy Place:

George

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Oh my God how HAPPY is that?? You can see why we call it the Happy Place, eh? Check out how my brother feels about it. Spoiler alert: HE LOVES IT TOO.

In case you were wondering, The Happy Place is in Wisconsin. So all those folks scouring the globe for a place of peace and happiness and parties featuring rude beer and roasted pigs, stop looking in tropical or exotic locations. A little bit southeast of the Wisconsin Dells is all you need to know.

Anyway, back to my story. It all happened several summers ago. There we were, enjoying the Happy Place. Now, it’s important to know that over its history as a vacation destination, the Happy Place once hosted two resorts and one campground. The campground remains, but the resorts have all given way to more upscale lakeside homes (which may or may not always come with more upscale residents). But on any given weekend in summer, the lake is crawling with boats, jet skis, swimmers, fishermen and other water babies. On any given weekend in winter, the lake is packed full of ice houses and fisherman who, for some demented reason, think that it is fun to drill a hole in the ice and sit there until a fish grabs hold. Clearwater Resort is gone, in its place (but at the top of the hill instead of lakeside) is the tacky and lovable Boondock’s Bar (home of the aforementioned Karaoke Bob. Don’t put in too many songs, he won’t call you).

It is safe to say that upon the thousands and thousands of bodies that have taken to the water over the years, sooner or later, someone is going to have a little dookie. You know what I mean. Number two. Pinch one off. Doodie in the pool. A dump, if you will. In the water. In its history, an Illinois politician who shall remain nameless may have been one of those who took the Browns to the Superbowl at the back of the lake, only, you know, the Browns were a poop and the Superbowl is Lake Jordan. You probably didn’t need me to explain that.

Anyway, as we enjoyed the back of the lake that hot summer afternoon, I heard a familiar voice call for my attention.

“Hey Kid!”

It was my father.

My parents have five children. Carrie, Tommy, Laura, Amy and Marney. And in his lifetime, my father has actually used those names only a handful of times. We are all called, affectionately, Kid, Stosh, Gertrude or Ike. In trouble? Thy name is Clown. In super trouble and about to get hit? You’re called Pal, and you better duck. Call out any of those monikers while we are together, and all of us will turn. But, I was being called Kid, so clearly, I was not in trouble.

“Hey Kid!”

I turn.

“Catch.”

*toss*

In slow motion, I saw it. Being hurdled at me. Brown. Stiff. Log-like.

*smack*

It hits me.

“Dad just threw dookie at Marney!!!!!!!!” Laura shouts.

There was the evidence, floating in the water. My father, upon spotting dookie in the water, thought, “Hmmmmm, what should I do with this? Oh look, there’s my youngest child, I better throw it at her.”

And so it was.

Thus began the family legend of how my father threw dookie at me. Now, to this day, he SWEARS it was just a stick, and I suppose that is possible. Water-logged branchery submerged in Lake Jordan is plentiful, and certainly takes on a dookie-like appearance. And of course, after being doused with dung, I screamed like a little girl and swatted it away, so I certainly didn’t inspect it a la Bill Murray.

Still, I prefer to say that my father, when listing his life achievements, can put “I threw dookie at my kid” somewhere near the top. Or, perhaps, the bottom (bah-dum-dum).

My father turned 71 years old this week. Brought into this world on August 17, 1939, he’s still as sassy as ever — dookie throwing abilities and all. So when you see him, wish him a Happy Birthday.  But be careful at the Happy Place. He’ll throw dookie at you, too.

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There it goes…

A brutal truth slapped me in the face this morning when I stepped outside to check the weather: It’s just not summer anymore.

I know very few people who view the brutal, sweltering heat of summer the way I do — I LOVE it. Love it love it love it love it love it. Nothing makes me happier than a good summer sweat. Certainly there is a limit. No one can be comfortable in 110 degree weather with no cooling prospects in sight. But this particular summer was like a three month long 83 degree dream. For all the complaints I heard about how it wasn’t all that warm this summer, I found it to be pretty much beautiful all around. We only ran the a/c for a total of maybe two weeks the whole time. I got lots of lake time. There were a handful of hot nights (my ABSOLUTE favorite — nothing beats the feeling of near 90 degree temperatures when the clock slowly ticks toward midnight. LOVE IT!).

I assume my affection for the heat comes from summers crammed into a three bedroom trailer in Wisconsin. While I only have a few scattered memories about when we used to stay in the cabins at Clearwater Resort on Lake Jordan, I can smell that trailer, purchased by my parents when I was around 8 years old, as clearly today as I could back then. Just close my eyes, and BAM, I can smell the mixture of dust and crisp Wisconsin nights and wet towels and taco salad and Russel’s meat market and of course, moth balls. Those summers when we crammed as many as 22 people inside that little trailer were the best memories of my childhood and early adult adventures.

Clearwater Resort is long gone, and the trailer literally fell apart after we left it, but our summers at Lake Jordan remain, thanks to Mom and Pops and their awesome lakeside hacienda. My sister Amy and I refer to it as “The Happy Place.” You cannot blame us:

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This is Hank and Danny on the boat, the view from the beach at the house.

And when we are at the back of the lake, we see this:

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Or, often, we see it like this:

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There is no shortage of laughter and joy in the Happy Place. And I found this summer to be a particularly nice one. There were, of course, the obligatory self-portraits.

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You know I must love the Happy Place when I absolutely adore a photo like this one of me and Hank, despite the way it completely and totally highlights each and every ginormous sized pore and splotchy skin discoloration flaw in my face.

And this summer just FELT so good. Check out this photo:

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I cannot for the life of me imagine what Hank is saying to Tim, but look how hard he has Tim laughing. Must have been a good one.

And of course, there’s just all around good times:

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You just cannot argue with the likes of hanging out with Grandpa, catching frogs while wearing a shark hat, and the “ska-do.”

Nights are nice too.

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Look at that! I’ll admit, this particular night was slightly marred when the full moon made one Mr. Glockenspiel go out of his ever-loving mind and attempt to hike back to Chicago all while cornering the market on parental love. If you don’t know what I am talking about, consider yourself lucky and enjoy the moon over the water. If you do know — sorry Laura!

Anyway, back to my point. I love summer. I love hot sticky summer. I love Wisconsin summer. I seriously could use up all of my space available on this blog simply posting my favorite pictures from Wisconsin summer. And it’s gone.

Every year, after Labor Day, I PROMISE myself that I am going to get back to Wisconsin one more time in September. That I am going to look fall in the face and tell it where to go and how to get there. That I am going to get out for one more boat ride and one more back-of-the-lake swim. And every year, I fail. The weekends come too quickly, the priorities get rearranged, the commitments pile on. The next thing you know, September is out of weekends, and here I sit in Illinois. No more Wisconsin summer. Even if I can get to Wisconsin in October, I’m a minimum of 8 months away from my next dip in Lake Jordan. That just makes me so sad.

Don’t get me wrong, the Happy Place is always happy, even in the dead of winter. With winter comes ice skating and snow tubing and hopefully, if the lake is frozen through from end to end, auto races on the lake. Karaoke Bob still shows up at the Boondocks on Friday nights, even in January. The Pizza Pub is open all winter. And with the invention of the indoor water park, there’s always something to do in the Dells, even go swimming should you so choose to blow your entire tax return on a single weekend.

Jim has successfully gotten me interested in college football, and I do love the smell of fall. I love Halloween and Christmas and my birthday (January 4 for those of you who forgot, Mom). I’ll get through the lull of cabin fever and summer will be here again before I know it. But today, it’s clearly over.

It’s a sad day today.

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