Small Gestures

March 31, 2015

The older I get, the less time I want to spend with the part of the human race that didn’t marry me.

~Robert Brault

My husband, Dan, does about one million thoughtful things a year for me. He is constantly looking into my best interest and I just absolutely love him for that!  I will not state each thing because then this would not be a slice, it would be a whole damn pie! Instead, I am going to focus on one small but always appreciated gesture my husband does for me.

I’m not sure if anyone else has a particular obsession with folded potato chips but I do! When you put your hand into a bag of Lays Potato Chips to pull out a boring and flat chip to munch on and you unexpectantly pull out the taco-shaped chip instead.  I just love that! It’s like two chips in one and it’s the most perfect mistake in food existence!  I feel like I won the lottery for about 2 seconds before and after that chip is consumed.

Dan noticed this obsession within the first month we started dating. I believe people call the first few months of dating the Honeymoon Period where both people are on their best behavior, are incredibly thoughtful of one another, and the woman tends to eat salads when out to dinner instead of real food.  I am not that woman! Maybe, during the honeymoon period, I’ll order a quarter pounder cheeseburger instead of my usual double-bacon cheeseburger with an egg running over the sides,  and a side of chili fries but I was never just a salad girl.  Wish I was because I’d be a few pounds lighter (please don’t think I’m downing you, salad girls). Dan was always in awe at what I could devour. What really showed me his unconditional love was the time when he noticed me dissecting a bag of chips for the taco-shaped ones,” and didn’t run for the hills.  Instead, when I went to the bathroom or  “The Whiz Palace”, as l Iike to quote the great Leslie Knope, I returned to find all taco -shaped chips separated from the regular, boring, and circular chips.  I smiled for I knew I found my soul mate!

And he still gives me the folded chips 7 years later even after the honeymoon period supposedly ended. Now, when he hands me the taco chip, he says, ‘Ooh! Here’s a good one, babe!” I smile the same smile I did the first time he generously gave me the chip.  I always will! I love you, Dan

Pass the Tissues, We All Got Issues!

March 30, 2015

 don’t believe an accident of birth makes people sisters or brothers. It makes them siblings, gives them mutuality of parentage. Sisterhood and brotherhood is a condition people have to work at.

~Maya Angelou

I royally slacked this weekend on my slices.  I usually don’t slice anyways on weekends but I really wanted to write this weekend because it’s the last weekend and there are so many things I want to slice about still. So I have to prioritize. There are two major topics that I did not reflect much on this past month and those are: My siblings and my husband. Today is a little slice about having Mary Ellen, Mike, and Michele as my sisters and brother. Dan will go tomorrow!

I am the last child of four. By last child, I mean waaaaaaayyyyyyy last child. My mom thought she was going through menopause but it turned out to be MEG-OH-pause! When my dad found out she was pregnant again, he resided to the garage for the rest of the day(and most of then night) with a case of beer and cried. My sisters and brother tried to grasp the fact that the family dynamic was about to change. But was it going to be for the better or worse?

The closest sibling to my age is Michele and she is eight years older than me. Mike and Mary Ellen are eleven and twelve years older than me. The age difference doesn’t matter though, it never really did. I was always close to them; just some more than others, depending on the age.  My parents were amazing but like every human being, they were not without faults  and we were not a perfect family either.  I think it was the fact that their arguments and all out screaming wars were what made us kids so darn close.

I remember when I was around 4 or 5, my parents would start to shout at each other loud enough for the neighbors to hear so Mary Ellen would take me upstairs to dance to The Cure’s Close to Me which would eventually lead me to love that band and genre of music very much! Instead of getting scared at the yelling, I got excited because that was going to be Mary Ellen and my dance-party time. I even became a pretty good dancer depending on who was watching! When Mary Ellen left for college, Mike took over the job of distracting me from my parents’ arguments. Mike’s go-to in the event of an extreme swear-infested parent quarrel was to take me into our pool and swim. From the constant dunking, the throwing me into the air, the Marco Polo and Sharks and Mino games,  I was oblivious to hollering and became an amazing swimmer and lifeguard from that. Michele made the parent fights easier to go through during high school. She and I would jump in the car and smoke cigarettes while listening to boy bands on a very low volume so no one could hear us enjoying our guilty pleasure,  and then go shopping and eat our troubles away while my parents hashed out their issues. I’m sure other families do these things as well.  I’m just saying that it was always very thoughtful of them to include me when they could’ve left me with the wolves to fend for myself.

Of course, this probably sounds like I come from some sort of dysfunctional family where the parents fought often. The truth is they did, but they always made up and got over their problems with each other. I developed a pass the tissues we all got issues mentality from watching them. I asked my dad how he and my mom stayed together all those years, he responded with, “making up was always the best part!” gross! But sweet I guess! This slice does not in any way define what my childhood was. This was just an example of the imperfect human beings my parents sometimes were but I wouldn’t trade any of these experience for a million dollars. This is also just a slice of one of the many selfless and awesome things my brother and sisters did for me, which in a way molded me into the person I am today!

cheers!

A Cardinal on Wednesdays

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.

– CC Scott

Before my mother died, she told my sisters and I that she would prove to us that there is a heaven and even though she physically wouldn’t be here, there would always be signs that her spirit would be. She asked what she could do to give us a sign that she is around. “You should have me win the lottery,” responded Mary Ellen jokingly. My mother retorted with, “That’s impossible!” My mother then suggested that if we see a cardinal, we should know that in actuality it would be her flying among us.

Before my mother died, I admit that I did not have much faith in religion.  My parents sent me to private Catholic (and expensive) schools which may or may not have had anything to do with my lack of faith. After so many years of learning about  Adam and his gal pal made/rib mate Eve, Noah and  that animal infested ark, Moses and his endless burning bush; and then finding out that those stories were not actually true gave me the same feeling as when I was 9 and found out  Santa Clause was not real. I was angry that I was foolish enough to believe these miracles could actually happen. I then renounced my faith and began to tell people I was an atheist.  My mother was a devout Catholic and sometimes our differences on the existence of God would cause us to butt heads. She would say something like, “I’ll pray for you,” and I would snap back with something disrespectful like, “Maybe Jesus could ride his unicorn, and help he me instead?” Then we would not talk for the rest of the night.

After my mother died, I wanted to think that there was more to death than just being buried under the ground. My mother was such an amazing person, that if there was a heaven, she should be seated at the right hand side of God himself. So after she died, I decided to keep my eyes open for signs.  The signs were everywhere! Cardinals started popping up all over the place! I knew my mom was probably saying, “See Meg, I told ya!” I even went to a medium once to appease my sister in law because she needed a certain amount of people to attend. I was very pessimistic about giving someone money to tell me about visions only they could see. But this lady had me in awe at the stuff she was saying. “I see this beautiful woman with blue eyes, big smile, and a cardinal by her side. Are you the teacher, or care giver?” I couldn’t believe it!  Sometimes, when I walk my daughter down the street (weather permitting), a cardinal will fly around us.  At family parties, holidays, and important events a cardinal seems to make its appearance. But most importantly, there’s a cardinal at times where I don’t need the signs. Random days like a Wednesday or a Monday, a cardinal may perch itself on my fence just to let me know she’s there!

Wrestle Me Judy vs. He-man, Skeletor, and the glass table (A Throwback Thursday Slice)

“By the power of Grayskull, I have the power!”

-He-Man

Wrestle Me Judy was my stage name for whenever I chose to be a super hero, world class wrestler, or sometimes the name I gave my Barbie when my friend, Vera, named her Barbie something really cool. I have absolutely no idea where or why I created this name but it made my brother, sisters, and the neighborhood kids laugh so I just went with it.

My mother seldom got the chance to go out with friends, so when that rare opportunity to meet up with the ladies came, my dad offered to stay home with the kids. My brother had a wrestling tournament the next day so he and my father were practicing some moves to help him prepare for the big meet. I was incapable of entertaining myself so I NEEDED to practice with them while I wore my brand new Care Bear night gown that I absolutely loved. To get me to stop nagging them and to stop pouting about how, “NO FUN” they were, they decided to trick me into thinking I was playing with them by telling me that we will play He-Man and She-Ra. Since I thought Wrestle Me Judy was way more of a badass name than She-Ra was I gave my sister, Michele, the title of She-ra  (she was on the phone and didn’t seem to care either way). I took on the form of the almighty, all powerful Wrestle Me Judy. Wrestle Me Judy had to face the evil Skeletor (my dad) in order to save He-man (my brother) from an untimely death. At least that’s what I thought was going on. My dad and brother were still working on different ways to pin the opponent so obviously they were NOT paying attention to my momentum building and couch jumping. Just as I took my enormous and courageous leap off the couch to save He-Man, Skeletor was in the process of flipping him and knocked into me, which caused a collision that sent me flying through the air and  into the glass coffee table. What I remember next is my dad carrying me and telling me, “Shhh, It’s ok, you’re ok, everything is fine, shhh,” while my brother and sisters checked for shards of glass sticking out of me. My dad was telling me to, “shake it off, it’s fine,” while my sister noticed that my clavicle bone did not sit in the same place on the right side as it did on the left side. At that very point, my mother came stampeding through the door (I don’t know if she heard my screams from down the block or had a telepathic sense) and started screaming at my dad. When their bickering ended, we  then took a family trip to Christ Hospital where I kept pretty good composure for a six year old until the doctor told me they would have to cut through the nightgown to get to my collarbone. That was when I flipped out! Nobody was cutting Wrestle Me Judy’s Care Bear nightgown!  I can remember my parents pleading with me to stop screaming and  they will buy me a new night gown and ice cream. Ice cream was Wrestle Me Judy’s favorite thing in the world so after some deep heaving breaths and some lingering sniffles, I gave in.

In the end, the bone healed but the worst part about breaking my collarbone was the loss of that Care Bear nightgown. I still think about it! The best part about breaking my collarbone was the enormous Gallon of Kemps Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream but I never did get that new Care Bear nightgown. Thanks, dad!

Must Love Dogs

“If you’re not a dog person, I’m not a you person!”

Megan Rohan

Murphy and Mommy

I decided to quote myself today because this is something I tend to say and think quite often. I feel that when people tell me they are not a dog person, I want to bite them in the face and tell them I’m not a people person! But where would that get us, huh? I also want to explain my quote so that way if you don’t own a dog, you don’t think I dislike you.  If you are allergic to dogs, have been attacked by a dog, or know someone who may have fallen victim to a dog in some way or another, you’re  also off the hook!  I feel that some people blame an entire species on one incident and it kind of reminds me of oh I don’t know: racial bias and hurdles we as humans cannot jump over, or perhaps even religious persecution that so many man-made wars have derived from.  I had a miserable experience with watching my sister’s cat Fedro  once but I still like the cat as an animal nonetheless.  Personally I feel Fedro can suck it though!

I also 100% understand I’m biased because I am the proud owner of an amazing, loyal, and beautiful 70 pound pit bull/lab mix, named Murphy. Murphy is my first child and my husband’s first love.  Murphy is a dog who was dealt a bad deck of cards for his first months of life but still shows unconditional love to anyone who comes near him.  I always found it funny when I walked him around the city and anyone who was on the same side of the street as us would causally cross the street in fear that Murphy would viciously attack them. In a way, I guess it felt comforting to know that no one was going to mess with me or my badass dog but I did have the urge to leave my dog sitting quietly on the corner while I chased them barking incessantly!

Murphy being cute

husband got Murphy from a kill shelter where the people who run the place dognap abused or neglected dogs while the horrendous owner was out or just not around for their pet. These people that I consider heroes would case out these animals after receiving tips from others about the mistreated dogs. The shelter observed Murphy for a week tied to a tree with little food and water. They came to the conclusion that either Murphy was a runt of his litter and would be no use in dog fights or even worse, he would be the bait dog for the dogs training to fight and most likely kill. So, they stealthily rescued him in the middle of the night. When they brought him back to the shelter and observed him and the rope burns around his neck, they came to the conclusion that Murphy was tied to that tree for several weeks to possible months.

When my husband went  to adopt a dog, Murphy kept coming up to him and trying to play. My husband had no intention of getting Murphy. He wanted a dog he could just lay with and be lazy with, but Murphy’s infectious personality wooed him.  After hearing Murphy’s back story, my husband was hooked! He didn’t regret the decision even after Murphy used the back seat as his bathroom and barf bucket.

Murphy and Daddy

When people hear about what Murphy went through, they always ask how he would be with a baby. Would he attack her, snap at her, clasp his jaws around her neck?  Nope, he’s in love with her just as much as she is in love with him.  They play together and share toys and food (although I wish she would stop eating his food). They are brother and sister!IMG_5568

The Twitches

Taking crazy things seriously is a serious waste of time.”

-Haruki Murakami

Having been out for almost a week  from work and from the slice challenge, it was a pleasant surprise to come back and find out that third quarter is ending on Wednesday. I really needed to hear that there is only 10 Mondays left of school. I love my students, I swear I do but being a special education teacher can sometimes be very trying on my patience. Since having a baby, I feel that I do a pretty decent job at not taking things my students say  or do too personally…or at least I can talk myself into thinking that he or she may not know any better. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot stop the third quarter twitch in my left eye that I get every year which doesn’t seem to go away until the second week of summer vacation. It’s like the twitch is saying, “They may not know what you’re thinking about them or their behavior, but I do.” I just want to tell my left eye to shut up but I fear that if someone else hears me yelling at myself, the bus will be coming for me and I will be committed somewhere dark and full of eye twitchers! I feel like Lisa Turtle in that Saved by the Bell episode where she can’t stop the eye twitch when Screech is around. I just hope my eye twitch also results in a first place dance routine known as The Sprain instead of any reprimanding or meetings about rooms for improvement for me as an educator with my superiors!

Party Dick and Dance Machine Jean

March 18, 2015

My dad, Dick, is coming home from Florida today with his girlfriend, Jean. They have been gone since February 12th and I’m excited to see him return with his brand new tan and of course his stories that are similar to those of a college student on spring break.  He has been a widow for almost 3 years and since Jean has come along, he is starting to get back to his old, hilarious (yet still semi- cantankerous) self. Jean is also a widow and has been for about 15 years which gives my dad some reassurance that even though you are forced to grow old without the love of your life you don’t have to be alone.

Jean’s favorite past time is to dance so she scouts out dance clubs for her and my dad to go to. My dad is actually a fantastic dancer and thought his dancing shoes were hung up forever after my mother died. In fact, they met a few months ago while my dad went to an old hang out of his and my mom’s to sit, have a beer and reminisce about the old, happy times.  Jean came up and asked my dad to dance (several times) and since then, they have been pretty inseparable.  I really like Jean! I think one of the reasons is because she is the polar opposite of my mother. My mother was a very conservative, quiet, classy and strict to routine type of person while Jean is a free-spirited, chain smoking, speaks her mind without regret type of person. I, being the latter type, can appreciate these qualities in a woman very much! I also can see that my dad in no way is replacing my mom, but instead is seeking a friend to enjoy this life with.   

What’s even better is how my dad, Dick, went from becoming a hermit type that ate during the Early Bird Special and went to bed around 8:00, is now going to dinner at 7:00 and Dancing till the morning hours. I feel that if this happened about 10 years ago, my father and I would have ended up at the same after hours.  What can I say about these two? They have a new respect for life and youth and you can’t help but love those crazy kids!