Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What I Know

If there is one thing I know for sure it is that eventually we are all judged by the content of our character. And preserving that character, whatever it may be, in every aspect of our lives determines the legacy that we leave behind. If there is one other thing I know, it's that it is never to late to decide to rebuild your character, to redirect your destiny and to change your ultimate contribution to the world.

Thank God for that.

Hush Your Mouth

Saying what you mean and meaning what you say are two completely different things. I know a lot of people, like me, who say what they mean all the time. They give honest opinions, offer honest advice and provide an honest perspective. They are the kind of people who are often accused of being harsh or brash and they are sometimes asked not to speak their minds as often as they do.

Meaning what you say, however, has more to do with making a conscious effort to only speak something that you truly believe or feel in your heart. It's so easy to get trapped into saying something just because it seems like the right thing to say, like, "oh what a cute baby!" or "yes, officer, I promise to slow down." And when you want to foster positivity with a loved one, it's just easier to cast the honesty policy aside and say what they want to hear like "oh your new haircut is great!" or "no, your butt doesn't look big." And too often the only way to get what you want is to say what you need to say and not what you really want to say like, "of course, Mr. Smith, I don't mind working the weekends" or... "I love you."

Falling into the trap of saying what might seem right in the moment leads you down a path that might be difficult to depart from later or that might even prove painful in the long run. A moment of satisfaction or the postponement of an uncomfortable conversation is not a good enough reason to deceive the people around you into thinking that you believe it or you feel it or you just plain mean what you say.

So the next time you are presented with an opportunity to mean what you say, either do it... or hush your mouth!

(If you need advice on what you should say instead, comment below or send me an email! I have an answer for everything!)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Day I Left the Ad Industry

Industry diehards would say I am weak or lack passion. But the day I left the ad industry might have been the best day of my life. Strong statement, huh?

The advertising business is so much fun. I don't know of any other business except maybe film or music where your clients pay you to have a good time. The creative process is exhilarating to be a part of and fascinating to watch. The production of television and radio and print is rewarding. There is nothing like flipping on the television and seeing a commercial that you helped create or hearing a radio spot done by one of "your" people or seeing a billboard bearing the design and hard work of your coworkers. Every bit of the making of advertising is fun. Even in the midst of the chaos and stress, it is fun.

I loved my work. For 16 years, I served as a project manager on interactive, creative, experiential and social media projects for brands that ranged from dog food to fast food and health care to tourism. I thrived on tight deadlines and a heavy workload. I enjoyed problem solving. I made things happen. Every. Single. Day. And I loved every minute of it.

But there were many reasons it was time for me to hang it up and move on to a new career. First of all, when you are in your twenties and right out of college, it is exciting to spend nights and weekends cranking out work. Eventually that gets old though and, in the ad biz, there's no rest for the weary.

Second, there are a lot of jerks in the biz too. It's ok to be loud, outspoken and demanding if you are a man or if you are the boss but project managers who demand compliance with process and expect respect are short lived. Especially if she's a woman... It is the one industry I have been a part of where the role of the female vastly differs from the role of the male. Women are definitely kept in a box. I can't be penned in. I need room to grow and change and create new ways to do old things. Process is not about hard fast rules. It is about adjusting and stretching and altering the way you do things to suit the project. Besides I'm a big girl. And I'm claustrophobic.

Third,  if you allow it, the life will be sucked out of you. Literally. You will set aside your own life for the sake of pleasing others (the boss, the clients, your coworkers). If you are unable to create your own work-life balance, you will not have any because nobody else is going to help you.

Finally, the bottom line is the bottom line. There is an instability in the advertising industry that is blamed on clients. The client cut the budget. The client decided to give that piece of business to another agency. The client wants to do it for no money. The client, the client, the client... I would suggest that the instability in advertising is more likely due to the greed of owners and management and their inability to manage the funds that are coming in the door. Agencies are cost centers of extravagance. Yes, there are a lot of little things that the agency does day in and day out that warrant big retainers but there are a lot of people making one hell of a lot of money while the people who actually do the work don't benefit from those retainers. It's a pretty unbalanced situation.

So I woke up one day and I thought, "If I am pushed one more inch or asked to take on one more responsibility, I'm done." And it happened. If I could have a do-over, I wouldn't just walk out. I would have offered my resignation and got everything in order for everyone else before I left. But you can't live life with regrets. And while quitting a job in a poor economy seems irresponsible, I think that business owners and managers should stop banking on their belief that people should just be thankful to have a job. Yes, they should be but they still deserve to be treated well.

The day I left the ad industry was the beginning of new opportunity. It was crazy and a little scary. But I'm glad I did it. It may just prove to be the best day of my life.


"Relationship" as defined by Merriam Webster is the state of being related or interrelated and the relation connecting or binding participants in a relationship. Interrelated means there is reciprocation of some kind. Therefore, relationships by definition are a two-way experience with a basis of give and receive.

Somewhere along the way, we became a world of entitlement. Either plagued by selfishness or raised in an environment in which others catered to our needs, we learned to take more often than we learned to give. I am rarely one to argue with the "NORMAL" of another person. If all you know is what you know then you cannot be blamed for not knowing. But today, I'm going to argue with somebody's normal.

If you have lived a life of receiving, at some point it is your responsibility to give back to the world around you.  This is one of the foundations for building and maintaining healthy relationships with others. I read somewhere that men need to feel appreciated in relationships and that most often when a man strays from his wife it is not because he is attracted to someone else, it is because he feels under-appreciated. I submit that feeling under-appreciated might be the reason most relationships end, not just marriages. If you master the art of giving and receiving, holding on to the people who are important to you will prove a little easier.

Now, I don't care what your circumstances are... Yes, you heard me right. Gentle understanding has just gone out the door. No matter what your circumstances are, you have the ability to give back in some way. It is up to you to figure it out.

Because I am a kind and loving person I have often found myself in relationships that are one sided. I am the giver and they are the takers. I have given of my time, my heart and most often, my money. Every year, I resolve that I am going to put myself first "from now on." But it never happens because I cannot resist working to make others happy. However, I am sticking to my guns this year. If our relationship is based on what I can do for you or what I can give you, it will be ending with 2010.

Relationships should have reciprocation and that is my only expectation. A hug for a hug, a listening ear for a listening ear, love for love, kindness for kindness, diamonds for diamonds... Ok maybe not necessarily diamonds. But you get the idea.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Dear Brendan Ryan

Dear Brendan Ryan,

I know what it's like when your boss decides you're no longer good enough to do your job. And I know what it's like when your boss hires someone else to do your job without telling you. And I know what it's like to be employed but not really have a job to do any more.

I empathize with you, Brendan, because I like you.

There are three things you can do now. You can quit. You can fight to keep your job. Or, you can move on gracefully. I am not really in the position to tell you which of those things to do because I took the easy way out and quit. But I can tell you this: no matter the outcome, you must be confident in who you are and what you know about yourself. Don't let this situation define you. And don't let the underhandedness of the business or of your bosses make you bitter.

You are good. In fact, I see flashes of greatness in you. And they probably do too. Truthfully, I think your personality is just too big for the Cardinals. There are only a couple people allowed to stand out and rise above in this town. Sadly, you aren't one of them. (Neither was I.)

Nobody deserves a backstabbing after he's worked so hard to bring success to the community around him. But everybody deserves to be happy. If I was going to give you any advice, it would be to hold on to your happy and make that a priority. I'm thinkin' about you man!


Michele, a big fan (but no bigger than anybody else in the bleachers, because that wouldn't be fair)

P.S. If you do somehow stick around, lay low. That's all I got.

Friday, October 08, 2010

This video was created last year but the message is powerful. I don't "celebrate" Columbus Day because I it is my duty to honor the true history. Do you celebrate it or not? And why?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

No Time Like the Present

There's no such thing as the perfect time. Waiting to do anything until the moment is precisely right or you have all your ducks in a row could be postponing the blessings of your life or the blessings you have to offer others. While it's not necessary to be reckless, it is wise to seize the day.

So if you are waiting to propose until you have your act together completely, just know that you'll probably never completely have your act together. And she deserves to know that all you think about is spending the rest of your life with her.

If you are waiting to have a baby until the time is right, keep in mind that you'll always have financial responsibilities and something else is always going to come up.

Your dream vacation can stay a dream or you can just do it. Taking off on a Friday afternoon to golf with your son and your dad could wait while you work 60 hours a week. Volunteering to serve Thanksgiving meals to the homeless is an opportunity that comes back around every year so you can afford to just talk about it one more time.

You might have an AWOL duck and the present might not be perfect.  But there's no time like now to spend with your family or to say "I love you" or to donate to your favorite charity.

There's no time like the present.

Monday, September 13, 2010

101 Reasons to VOTE FOR MICHELE!

The journey to this point has been a bit emotional for me. But now that I am so close to actually singing on stage in Nashville, TN, I can't imagine not winning "Cornbread Idol." Yes, registration takes time, but once you sign up, you can vote for me once a day, every day and help me fulfill my dream. The back story of all of this will come out soon enough. For now, here are just a few reasons why you might want to vote for me.
  1. If you've ever had an "impossible" dream
  2. You've fulfilled your "impossible" dream so you know it can happen
  3. You regret not going for it
  4. You believe that it's never to late to make your dreams come true
  5. You don't fit the mold
  6. If you've ever done something that people said you couldn't
  7. If you believe in 2nd chances
  8. You know that if you had a 2nd chance you would take it too
  9. If you ever thought about starting over
  10. If you ever did start over and you know it's worth the fight
  11. If you are a parent who is teaching his/her children that they can do anything their hearts desire
  12. If you are the child of a parent who encouraged you to do whatever your heart desired
  13. You are my friend
  14. If I was ever a friend to you
  15. If you would like to be my friend
  16. You are my family
  17. You are like family to me
  18. You know that I love you
  19. You are an acquaintance
  20. You are a co-worker or a former co-worker
  21. You are a co-worker that would like to be a former co-worker (send me to Nashville!)
  22. You are returning a favor
  23. You are hoping for a favor in return
  24. You feel obligated
  25. You think it will make me stop emailing you
  26. You are a lurker on my blog or my twitter or my facebook page
  27. If I ever meant something to you
  28. If you insist that I mean nothing to you & you just want me to go away (see #21)
  29. You love me
  30. You hate me & you want to cancel out the negativity by doing something good
  31. You believe I am a good person
  32. You aren't sure if I am good but you are willing to give me a chance to prove that I am
  33. You believe in finding true happiness
  34. You know that sometimes it's about the journey & not what happens in the end
  35. You know that I would do it for you
  36. If anyone has ever told you, "you have such a pretty face"
  37. If anyone has ever told you that pretty isn't everything
  38. If anyone has ever told you that you're too old
  39. If anyone has told you that you're not old enough
  40. If you've always wanted to make your parents proud
  41. You hope to leave a legacy to your children
  42. And you want to be able to help provide for your aging parents
  43. You enjoy a really good story
  44. You have heard my other really good stories & you know I'll come back to STL with something worth hearing
  45. You have ever wanted to prove someone wrong
  46. Your life is a country song
  47. You just broke up with your ex, lost your dog or drank your last shot of whiskey
  48. You think I might be the only redeeming quality that country music will ever have
  49. You also wonder if Kris Kristofferson broke his leg jumping out of a helicopter (He will be there too!)
  50. You have ever shouted YEE HAW (even if you were liquored up)
  51. You are anything like me...
  52. You love Reese's peanut butter cups
  53. Ice cream is your greatest weakness
  54. You love the game of baseball
  55. You wear your patriotism on your sleeve
  56. The United States National Anthem gets you choked up
  57. You understand the story behind the National Anthem
  58. You know that the best part of the National Anthem is when the smoke clears and the flag was still there
  59. You played Division III sports so you know what it's like to play for the love of the game
  60. You went to college in your hometown
  61. You changed majors more than once while you tried to figure out who you wanted to be when you grew up
  62. You are still trying to figure out who you want to be & you're already grown up
  63. You remember what your first time doing anything felt like
  64. You wonder how this can possibly be your life
  65. You look in the mirror & think about who you could have been
  66. You look in the mirror & you wonder where that double chin & that gray hair came from
  67. You enjoy spontaneous road trips
  68. You think you could live your life out of a suitcase & be happy
  69. You wonder how people can live their lives out of a suitcase
  70. You've never taken a risk in your life that was worth taking
  71. You know that the best things in life come from taking risks
  72. Every day you wake up thankful that this is your life
  73. Every day you think "something's gotta give"
  74. Caffeine is the only thing that keeps you going some days
  75. You crave.... anything. 
  76. If it's hard for you to be selfish
  77. If you struggle to ask others for help
  78. If you would rather just do it yourself
  79. If you think it's better to give than to receive
  80. If you can never remind people that they owe you money
  81. If you owe me money (vote every day & we're even)
  82. If I ever made an impact in your life
  83. If I ever helped you
  84. If I ever cooked you a meal or cleaned your house
  85. If I kept your dog or your child while you were on vacation
  86. If I came to your wedding shower
  87. If I attended your wedding
  88. If I was in your wedding (then you should vote at least twice)
  89. If I came to your baby shower
  90. If I threw your baby shower
  91. You want to make a difference in the world
  92. You want to help me make a difference in the world
  93. You think timing is everything
  94. Music moves you
  95. You are passionate about anything
  96. You wish someone would lend you a hand
  97. Everybody else is doing it
  98. You believe you reap what you sow
  99. You are just a really nice person
  100. You can't help yourself
  101. You wish it was you...
Here's the link to register & vote for me If you sign up and click don't email me and don't share my email you will not get spam.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

a "personal" note just for you

a "personal" note just for you:

Thank you for keeping a watchful eye over me. Whether you're driven by obligation  or curiosity or genuine care & concern doesn't matter to me. In fact, in this case I believe that ignorance is bliss. I'd rather not know your motivation. I know you're here. There was a time when that would have made me certifiably crazy. But I've learned to take what others have to offer me.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Hate is a powerful emotion. I do my best to steer clear of it. I detest situations. I try to assign my anger to an action and not to a person. I work to reserve my dislikes for experiences and not for any living, breathing creature. I don't want to hate. I don't want to harbor negative feelings. But I am not perfect.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hate cages all the good things about you. ~Terri Guillemets

Hatred is one long wait. ~René Maran

hatred bounces ~e.e. cummings

You lose a lot of time, hating people. ~Marian Anderson

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. ~James Baldwin

Love the Way You Lie

I read one review of this video that basically said you want to look away because it's so violent but you can't because it's so sexy. That's the perfect depiction of an abusive relationship. The parties involved become trapped in a vicious cycle.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oh Brother

Years ago, I journeyed to my beginnings, searching for my birthfamily and eventually discovering that we are a product of our environment and of our decisions and not necessarily of our genetics. I chronicled that journey on this blog. (The links follow.) Throughout that experience, my birthmom and I exchanged many letters and emails and pictures. And I learned that I came from a very large family that included siblings and step-siblings. I always wanted brothers so I was excited to learn that two of my siblings & step-siblings were brothers. In the end, I never met my extended family face to face. But every detail and every image from that frame of time is burned in my brain.

Flash forward to this past weekend... As I stood in the middle of the dance area on the patio at a downtown St. Louis bar, I looked out over the crowd. Suddenly, I recognized a face. How did I know him? And then, it hit me. It was my step-brother. Quickly, I grabbed a friend, pointed him out and exclaimed, "Oh my God, I think that's my brother!"

I have to tell you that my friends and I often joke about seeing my random family members when we are out and about. Tall, skinny, long-haired old men are usually "Wilson," my birthfather. Dark-skinned, American Indian types (like Kyle Lohse) are usually my brothers. It's a joke and we have fun with it. So when I told my friend Kate that I thought this stranger at the bar was my brother, she laughed at me. Until she realized I was serious.

Soon, Kate chased him down and asked him for his name. Reluctantly, he obliged and Kate stammered around trying to come up with an explanation for approaching him. Eventually, I collected myself and joined them. I warned that we were about to get a little deep for a Friday night at a southside bar. He smiled nervously. "I recognized you from a picture," I said. "See, your stepmom Denice is my birthmom."

He paused. And then he threw his arms around me and hugged me for a long time. His smile grew broad. We talked for twenty minutes or so before he asked me to call him and gave me his phone number. Soon we will spend some time together and get to know each other a little. He promised that meeting with him would be a softer introduction to the family than the first time. He left me with another long hug, encouraging me to contact him. His name is Dan.

My story just keeps on unfolding. And now, I'm the nervous one.

links to the journey blogs:


Life & Baseball

(Author's note: I was prompted to write this after the Cards vs. Cubs game Friday night. I met my brother for the first time after that game. And I was surrounded by my friends from the bleachers when it happened. See, life changing events do happen around baseball.)

People often wonder how a motley crew from various corners of the state can grow from being baseball fans who just happen to sit in the same section of a stadium to a sort of family. Over the last ten years, I've been a St. Louis Cardinals season ticket holder and I've experienced the transition from a fan enjoying a Sunday afternoon with like-minded people to a member of the St. Louis Cardinals family.

Sharing high fives and hugs and toasting with giant cups of beer organically brings people together. Bonding through the joys of victory is natural and normal. Disappointing losses, bad calls and mutually hated rivals run a close second to happy times when it comes to creating connection among sports fans.

But, in the course of a season, life still happens. In between games, and sometimes during games, life-changing events occur and thanks to timing season ticket holders, who spend a good portion of their weeks around one another, end up sharing those moments with each other. Engagements, marriages, divorces, births, deaths, new jobs, new homes, personal wins and losses... They happen. And baseball goes on and sometimes your fellow baseball fans help extend the happiness of those moments or help you through the tough times.

Throughout our ten years, we've lost two bleacher friends and two players that we loved to tragic untimely deaths. We've watched most of the guys get married and some of them get divorced. There have been many babies born. Some of us have been unemployed together and many have changed jobs. We've made new friends and heckled many a right fielder from the Reds or the Astros or the Brewers. We've laughed immeasurably, cried many tears, hugged a lot and sometimes hated each other. We've traveled to other states to see our boys play, celebrated year after year in playoff runs and enjoyed the sweetest victory of a World Series. Tragedy and comedy, victory and loss, happiness and sadness... We have been through it all. Together. And sometimes it was about baseball. And sometimes it was just about life.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Precisely the Wrong Time

Did you ever wonder why you don't meet certain people sooner in your life or why your path averts the path of another until a seemingly precise juncture? I do. I wonder all the time. But more expressly when the timing seems to be precisely wrong.

I believe we are given many paths from which to choose and that, while our destiny may be predetermined, the route by which we get there is determined by us. But I also believe that along our journey we are given tools and guides and are presented with relationships that we need to get us through that leg of the journey or through the rest of the adventure. I don't believe in bad timing. We are given exactly what we need and who we need when we need it.

But it's confusing sometimes. Often, I've taken a step back to examine my life and questioned the introduction of a new friend or the reunion with an old friend. I've hesitated to welcome opportunities or the chance at a relationship because life is either going really well or it's too messy to start something different. And I've wasted a lot of time trying to figure it all out instead of just enjoying or enduring the moment.

I've been taught that for everything there is a season. Maybe that season is a week long and maybe it's a lifetime. But we don't have the luxury of knowing when things will start or end. No matter how hard we fight to control it all, we don't decide the seasons. We also don't get to weigh in on the other lives into which we are thrown. When others need us, a request doesn't show up on our doorsteps. It just happens.

So rather than wondering, perhaps we should just be aware and recognize. It may seem wrong or difficult or it may be one big party. But it all happens for a reason in the right season.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Work Isn't Everything

Most people keep pictures in their offices to remind them of WHY they work so hard. I keep mine to remind me of what else there is. Work isn’t everything.


Monday, July 19, 2010

My Ride

The instances in which I allow myself to be selfish are very few and far between. I choose to put others ahead of myself in nearly all things except my music. I did that once and every day when I wake up at the crack of dawn I wonder how famous I would be if I wouldn’t have done that. It’s my one regret in life. So when the opportunity presents itself for me to perform, I carefully select the people that will be by my side in that moment. There are very few people invited to go along for my ride.

My parents, my sister, my nephew and a few of my closest friends are usually among the pool from which I select because they know my routine. They know that I need to arrive at the location very early to acclimate myself to the venue, to adjust to the temperature in the room, to familiarize myself with my surroundings. They know that I prefer to drive myself. They know that I consume almost a whole bottle of water before I sing and that at some point, I stop talking until after I sing. They know I won’t eat until I’m done and that I say a prayer and recite the words out loud just before standing before the crowd. They know that I stay for every event after I sing, at least for a little while, because most often my payment is “in kind” and not in cash and the experience to me is always worth the exchange. I have seen things thanks to my singing that I never would have otherwise, like the NASCAR truck series and the National Dog Show in Philadelphia and the NCAA Wrestling Championships. They respect my routine. And that is why they are chosen.

If I ask you to come along for my ride, it is not because I want to you be in awe of me. I don’t need the applause or even compliments. It is because I want to share my experience with you. I want to let you in to the one aspect of my life that I guard and protect and reserve for a special few. And I know that the event will surprise you or enrich your life in some way and not just because you are spending time with me.

But please remember that this is my ride. Not yours. It’s selfish. Yes. But in this case, I am allowed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Let's Get Deep

Today is an anniversary of sorts for me. It's traditionally been a day of crazy sadness and most of the time I don't realize why I feel so off kilter until the end of the day. But today, I recognized the insanity immediately. Coincidentally, the 5 year anniversary of my blog just passed as well. Regular readers know that, normally, I serve up a list of favorite blogs for the anniversary. But, this year, we are going to "celebrate" both occasions with one list. This is going to get a little deeper as my list is not a list of favorites or the best blogs. The entries included here are of my "deepest" blogs. They speak to who I am at my very core and they tell a little bit of my story. Most of them were written in a time when this space served as my journal and the pages laid wide open for you all to share with me.

On this crazy-sad but exciting anniversary, here is a little bit of me.



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Women Unite: The Pad is Back

Pulling a new shirt out of the bag, I unfolded it gently and laid it on the bed. I hadn't tried the emerald green beauty on before I made the purchase. As I reviewed my fantastic find, I noticed a slight bulge at the shoulder. Slowly, I lifted the shirt closer to examine it. The horror! Hiding in my shirt, one in each arm, were... SHOULDER PADS.

WHY would anyone put shoulder pads in a shirt? We have done this before. Do we not remember what it looked like? Well, THIS is what it looked like:

She looks angry. Doesn't she? I am not sure who introduced shoulder pads to women's clothing the first time but it was wrong. What is attractive about a woman with the shoulders of a linebacker? It is clear that these sneaky designers are doing it again. They are slipping bulky chunks of foam into the sleeves of our shirts, ladies. We cannot let this go on. We must ban together to ban the shoulder pads. WOMEN UNITE!

Reflective & True

I have a short list of legendary musicians who I'd like to see perform live in my lifetime. The list includes Billy Joel, Phil Collins, Madonna, James Taylor, Carole King and many more. Last night I was fortunate to kill two birds with one stone by seeing James Taylor and Carole King in concert together.

Their music is so reflective and true. From the time I was about 12 years old, I loved it. It brought a peacefulness to my world. I like to say that for every season of your life, there is a James Taylor song to provide the tune. And never has that been more true for me than right now.

This video is not from last night but it's a gentle demonstration of what I mean. Some of the lyrics follow.

So close your eyes
You can close your eyes, it's all right
I don't know no love songs
And I can't sing the blues anymore
But I can sing this song
And you can sing this song
When I'm gone
It won't be long before another day
We gonna have a good time
And no one's gonna take that time away
You can stay as long as you like

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Hiatus Ending

Over the last few months, blogging lost a bit of its luster. When I first started this thing, people questioned the openness with which I wrote but I have long said I live my life like an open book, with nothing to hide and so much to share. So I typed away every month, offering my opinions and beliefs and ideas to the world.

When life is infused with strong emotions or excitement or drama, it's easy to blog. When you can make light of the not-so-great moments or make lemonade from your harvest of lemons, the words seem to flow from your fingertips. And it's fun. It's a release. Often times, it's therapy.

Then there came a time last month when it all suddenly seemed deeply personal. I could not share what was going on in my head and my heart with the people around me, much less blog.

But the hiatus is ending, my faithful readers. Today, I type. And again tomorrow. As I get back in the swing of things, my writing is either going to prove to be brilliant or it will completely suck. But I'm glad you're here and I will do my best to get my blogging tail in gear.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Few words are needed for this entry. All I will say is, I am glad I decided to allow a mama rabbit to burrow into the center of the backyard and let nature take it's course. It's been a JOY to watch these little creatures come to life! We have bunnies!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Three Inch Heels

I wore three inch heels today. Calvin Klein wedges. They are hot shoes. I looked damn good. And I felt good too. There is something to be said for getting yourself together to boost your self confidence. They always say when you look good, you feel good. Today provided proof positive. It's true.

High heels have always made me feel good. I am 5'10" so it's not about being taller. There's power in the pumps. There's strength and sexiness and satisfaction in knowing that people pay attention when you walk by in a pair of Steve Madden gems.

And I love buying them. Three of my closet shelves are lined with two and three and four inch heels. I'm no Imelda Marcos but I may have a bit of an addiction. Most of them just sit there because my prematurely arthritic knees don't always allow for fabulous shoes. There was a time in my life too when I dated a short guy who hated that I was taller then him. (I know... That's a red flag. But he was so pretty.) So I traded in my pumps and wedges for ballet flats for a couple of years. It frustrated my mom to no end.

Growing up, I'd watch my mom strap on her high heels when she'd go out on Friday nights with my dad. Mom towered over dad by a few inches but she wore gorgeous pumps and high-heeled, strappy sandals. My dad loved it. You could see in the way he looked at her and the way he would wrap his arm around her waist and rest his hand on her hip that he thought she was sexy. Back then, it grossed me out completely; but now, I remember their interactions fondly. She set a fantastic example for me. She always said I should be proud of being tall and wear it well. "You should never hide your height," mom said.

See, sometimes, I do exactly what my mom says. On occasion that leads to a night of ice bags on my knees. But every feel good moment makes it worth it. All hail the three inch heels! 

Leaving Las Vegas & Sinnin' at Home

For years people tried to convince me that a trip to Las Vegas was exactly what I needed. The stories relayed from friends to me about their Vegas experiences sounded wildly fun and filled with sleepless nights and streets abounding with delicious people. How could a girl like me resist a temptaion-laden vacation with her best friends.                                                                                                                        

And so we planned and we got a fantastic deal. (Only later did we discover that cheap flights and inexpensive hotel rooms is the way they suck you in!) We decided to take a long weekend and informally celebrate a 40th birthday.

Initially, the city was overwhelming. So much to see and experience... And so little time. It's no wonder that many people only sleep for 3 hours a night. If you're sleeping, you're missing something and you don't want to miss anything in Vegas. There are shows in every hotel. In fact, every hotel itself is a show. As one of my friends said, once they pick a theme in Vegas, they stick to it so everything is very elaborate.

I enjoyed the sights and sounds of sin city and every day, I laughed until I cried in the company of two of the best friends a girl could have. But the cost of even a bottle of water was outrageous. The expense of just every day, not to mention all the "stuff" you do on vacation was ridiculous. Soon, I began to look around and think, "there is nothing here that I can't find at home." We have plenty of shows and casinos and bright lights and naked girls in St. Louis. (There's a burlesque show at least once a day in my bathroom...) There's a lot more money in Vegas and a lot more hype. But that's it.

In all, it was an experience and much fun was had but Vegas isn't for me. After 15-1/2 hours of travel, we finally got home and I don't think I'll ever go back. I'll never say "never" but for now, I'm gonna do my sinnin' right here at home.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thinking of You

there is someone
that dreams of your smile,
and finds in your presence
that life is worthwhile,
so when you are lonely
remember it’s true,
is thinking of you.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Memory Lane

Once upon a time, a starry-eyed girl sat alone on the front porch of her parents home and dreamed of the possibilities. She believed that all things were possible and that she could do anything she tried. While her confidence sometimes hid behind her awkwardness, she never doubted who she was or her God-given abilities. She never questioned the possibility of success or fame or fortune or family & friends. She knew that one day she would have it all.

And then, she grew up.

Often, I find comfort in reminiscing. I hold most of the memories of my childhood so dear and, in the cases when the memories aren't so clear, the people serve as a reminder of when life was pure and the possibilities were endless. I realize most people aren't as sentimental as I am. Oh, but if they knew the part that the each have in keeping me grounded and  helping me find pieces of happiness now and again, maybe they would be. Although we may rarely talk or see each other, they are the ones I turn to when I feel sad or broken. They are the ones I lean on when I'm scared or feeling lost. They are the ones who help rebuild me when I'm starting over once again. And they do it without even knowing it.

Miranda Lambert sings a song called THE HOUSE THAT BUILT ME. It's all about how she wants to go back to the house where she grew up so she can remember who she is. It touches my heart. I get it completely. Some days a quick journey down memory lane is all it takes to remind me that one day I'll have it all. And maybe I'm closer than I think.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

God's Gift of Dancing with the Stars

On Monday, March 22nd, a new season of Dancing with the Stars will begin. They claim to have the most controversial cast of dancers ever. I'm sure the set is bubbling with the anticipation of potential wardrobe malfunctions, intense competition and judges spats. But all that buzz pales in comparison to the growing expectancy in our home.

The only DWTS fan I know that's bigger than my mom is my dad. They often disagree, much like Bruno & Len, but they usually root for the same pair to win. Without fail, my dad is on the couch a half hour before the show starts, making sure the television channel is secure and my mom gathers her game-time treats in her corner of the room. It's an event. Every week.

As my time living with my parents draws to a close, I'm saddened. I had no idea, at the time, what a rewarding experience it would be nor that I would discover so much about my parents. For example, I would have never guessed that my dad had a passion for figure skating and ballroom dancing.

Not many people in their 30s would want to move back in with their 70-something parents but now, I can't imagine living apart from them. There are moments when I could use some alone time, when I'd rather not share the bathroom or the tv and when I'd do things completely differently. But there are more often times that I can't imagine being alone.

Tonight, my mom said to me, "Michele, God has given you so much." She's right. I am grateful for the last three years. And I will be equally as grateful for Monday nights without Dancing with the Stars!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

39 Things that Make Me Thankful

For my 39th birthday, I decided to tackle the task of creating a list of 39 things for which I am truly thankful. The parameters I set for myself were fairly simple: obvious & general entries like “my family” or “my friends” are not allowed; be specific. As I began to make notes about the things that are special to me in my daily life, I surprised myself.

Here are the 39 things I am thankful for this year, as they came to me, in no particular order:

  1. My nephew Kirk’s laughter, which is the quickest route to happy on even the worst days.
  2. Family feuds, during which the evidence of how much each person cares seems to rise to the top
  3. Workplace crises that give me an opportunity to excel
  4. My scenic & often refreshing drive through Forest Park every day
  5. The inspirational story of courage & strength in the United States National anthem & the opportunity it has provided for me.
  6. My parents’ love for all things sports, which they passed it on to me
  7. My elementary education where I spent a good portion of my life learning & growing with many people whom I still call “friend.”
  8. Hot summer days when the only beverage that can quench my thirst is an ice-cold beer (I get that from my mom.)
  9. Growing up in a time when you could ride your bike in the neighborhood & play outside all day long with your friends without any fear of not returning home before the street lights came on
  10. The almost neon green indoor/outdoor carpeting on the dock at Ant’s Creek Resort at Table Rock Lake where I spent many a summer fishing with my dad, my cousins, my sister & my friends.
  11. The boxes & boxes of photos kept by my mom & by me because they fill in the blanks as memories start to fade.
  12. Facebook. Without it, I’d never have gotten back in touch with my best friends from grade school & high school, the man who discovered my voice & the Belgian boy I kissed when I was 19.
  13. Twitter. A daily recording of my every mood & thought & a lot of the things that Mrs. Walsh said I should never put on paper.
  14. Speaking of Mrs. Walsh… I wouldn’t be here right now in this very space if she hadn’t told me that I shouldn’t do what I wanted to do which was to write my every thought down on paper. & the blog goes on…
  15. Cake. I love cake when it’s rainy & cold. I love cake when I am not supposed to have it. I love cake when it’s compared to men (see http://michelesingsit.blogspot.com/2006/06/men-are-like-cake.html ). I love cake.
  16. Section 509 in the old Busch Stadium where my love of baseball was developed as well as friendships & where some of my most memorable moments of the last 10 years took place. I miss the old stadium terribly.
  17. Diet Dr. Pepper is often the only thing that gets me through the day. That & my amazing imagination…
  18. My 2nd grade boyfriend, my boss with whom I had a relationship, my ex whose nieces I helped raise & every other guy I thought might be the one because in each situation I discovered my weaknesses & harnessed my strengths & learned to never settle for someone who is settling for you.
  19. Waking up because you never know when you might not.
  20. Air, Water, Food & all other things that sustain me.
  21. Pain. Although there are days when I am not thankful. It’s a testament to where I’ve been & evidence of a rewarding journey.
  22. Volleyball, a game I love to play & teach.
  23. Basketball, a game I played & not very well but which took me around the world & afforded me experiences I often didn’t deserve.
  24. My faithful friends
  25. Fresh, creamy Reese’s peanut butter cups
  26. Georgian Cheese Pie, my special recipe
  27. The mornings my mom spent teaching me to cook breakfast & the afternoons when she taught me to iron my dad’s handkerchiefs
  28. 2007, the year I wish I could wipe out of my history. I know it existed for a reason.
  29. Never being saddled with a nickname aside from my last name.
  30. My 4th birthday present, with whom I share my birthday every year. Denise.
  31. My birth mom for her courage & my birth father for his carelessness.
  32.  “Be Careful. Have Fun” The four words my dad says every time I leave my parents’ house.
  33. That my mom cries about everything & so do I
  34. Lack of clarity that keeps me searching
  35. Moments of clarity that confirm that I should keep searching
  36. Childlike faith that helps me believe that, at their core, people are good.
  37. Feelings. Much better than numbness. I know from experience.
  38. Debbye Turner who is a great example of what can happen when you don’t give up on your dreams & you hold out for what you deserve.
  39. Birthdays. They each start a new year & a new chapter in life.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Four Months

“Congratulations!” the nurse said as she rushed back into the room and thrust my paperwork under my nose.

Tears streamed down my cheeks immediately.

The nurse looked up. “I’m sorry?” she asked softly.

Single and pregnant. It seems that the moment you say out loud, “that will never be me,” it is you and the shock is overwhelming. Truthfully, news came as no surprise. I knew for days that I was pregnant. I just needed official confirmation. I notified the baby’s father only after I had called my three best friends.

The details of every day after that are vivid in my memory even ten years later. The changes in my body were undeniable and I loved pregnancy. But through the experience, I learned some of the hardest lessons in my life.

My baby never took a breath outside the womb. I never held him or saw his face. In fact he never grew larger than the size of a lemon. His time with me was short-lived but I still cherish every day we had. I am grateful for what he taught me. I am thankful for the joy and the sorrow.

Had all gone as planned, tomorrow would have been his 10th birthday.

I will never forget, not even for a moment, that four months of my life. What a profound impact! Happy Birthday little guy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Best of 2009

Looking back, I realized that my writing from 2009 leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps I should commit to blogging a little more often... In the meantime, here's a list of blogs from the last year to peruse and enjoy.

Committing to Commitment

For years, I have committed to a non-committal life-style.  It makes life easier because there's no fear of breaking rules or breaking hearts or breaking the bank thanks to a crashing stock market. And in keeping with that way of life, I stopped making New Year's resolutions. Why promise the world or yourself that you are going to change your life or just your hairstyle in honor of a new year when you know that three months from now, you will break your promise?

But as 2009 came to a close, I gave a lot of thought to my care-free, good-time-Charlie life. What an amazing time, I've had! There's nothing like waking up to freedom every day and passing your time on a whim. In spite of the trouble I've endured and my own personal heartache, my life has been so good. All said, I am blessed.

This year has already introduced great change into my life. I believe that if you want certain things, you must create an environment in which those things are possible. If you want to have a family, for example, you must create a home. If you want to cultivate your friendships, you must exude warmth and tenderness and care and concern. If you want great riches or great satisfaction, you must dedicate yourself to your work. In all things, you must open a door to opportunity, extend a hand to receive favor and embrace life so that it doesn't pass you by.

This week, I applied to adopt a puppy. Tomorrow, I will pay a visit to a duplex that I hope to buy. Next week, who knows? I'm committed to giving commitment all I've got in 2010 and I'm prepared for this leg of the journey to be as enjoyable and fulfilling as the last.