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Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

If you had the chance to change your fate, would you?

She’s adventurous, feisty, and desires to control her own destiny. She’s a gifted archer and good with a sword, but it is her spunk that drew me in. I love her playful relationship with her dad, and I love her bravery!

merida1

Merida of the Clan DunBroch

Don thought I’d choose Katniss Everdeen. I thought about Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I could have easily chosen Eowyn again, or one of the other kickass heroines I love so much, but Merida has been on my mind. I relate to her defiance against traditions and expectations, and admire her fighting spirit. And who doesn’t love her red hair? 😉

I share some of her less desirable qualitites as well, I suppose. She’s brash and sometimes acts without thinking only to regret it later. Been there. But I couldn’t help cheering when I watched this scene:

She’s been my Facebook profile picture many times, she’s currently my cover photo, and friends send me pictures of her. Fans of Merida have drawn and painted amazing depictions of her. This one by artist Heather Theurer is my favorite:

Merida_sm

A few years ago, my friend Michelle bought me a figurine which now sits in my office. Every kid who stops by wants to play with her because she’s beautiful, posable, and her accessories rock! She only came with one arrow, which I assume is enough – she’s that good. I love her.

She inspires me when I write by reminding me I too am brave.

merida figurine

 

Have you stopped by my fellow challenger’s sites lately? We still have a few days left to catch up and finish our challenge!

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/

 

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I’ve moved around a lot and lived next door to amazing, friendly people, but I’ve never had a neighbor I loved like Mr. Rogers. Like millions of other children, I grew up singing this song, going on field trips to interesting places in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, reading stories with Daniel Tiger, and learning some of life’s tougher lessons in a safe, nurturing way. Fred Rogers looked for the good in everyone he met and championed kindness and knowing who you are.

He was safe and gentle. He didn’t yell. He wasn’t sarcastic. He cared deeply for his friends. He said there’s no one else exactly like me and he likes me just the way I am. When you hear those words day after day, you begin to believe them. Mr. Rogers was a fantastic neighbor!

Fred-Rogers-fileHe gave me hope and courage, and I wanted to live in his real life neighborhood. I loved his words of wisdom that sounded a lot like words of love from someone who clearly knew how to love people. He taught me that every person has value and it’s up to me to always be a friend. He said things like,

“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”

And

“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.”

I’ve taken many of his lessons to heart and woven them into my life’s mission:
To love extravagantly and be a good friend.
Want to meet some of my other neighbors?

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Crush. n. A brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate.

Been there. Done that a few hundred times. When I was younger, I thought it was love. I know the difference now that I’ve experienced the real thing. Crushes can be harmless or destructive, depending on what you do with them. Every time I got my heart broken over a crush I felt…well…crushed. I wondered if that’s how the word came into being. Unreciprocated feelings are crushing. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to look at it through a fun lens instead of a heartbreaking one. And sometimes crushes like you back!

crush-21Having a crush on someone is exciting! Your adrenaline pumps harder, your heart beats faster, and you either become mute or can’t shut up when your crush talks to you. Yeah, thanks for that, stupid body. Sometimes our brains make us dumb or at least look like we are. As a kid, it’s really embarrassing. As an adult, it’s even more embarrassing. Have you ever met someone you strongly admired? I have. I get star-struck/fan girl about very few people, but when it happens, it’s humiliating.

I shared about my very first crush when we did the drawing challenge in 2013. From that post:

30 Day Challenge 003“I never went through the “boys are gross” stage, and I’ve had about a hundred crushes, but my first was Michael Hurda. He was the boy next door. Okay, more like a block away. I could see his house from our porch. He had dark brown hair and a big cheesy grin. We walked to our elementary school together all through first and second grade, and logged hundreds of miles circling the neighborhood on our bikes. He never treated me like a girl when we were kicking a ball around or playing tag, so of course I loved him. On a field trip to our teacher’s farm in first grade, he told my mom he loved me and was going to marry me someday. Then we moved away the next year and I didn’t see him again until a chance meeting in high school. He had moved to another city but was visiting our hometown and we ran into each other. We reconnected for a bit as friends, but lost touch again. Not to sound all stalkerish, but I know where he is. I found him on Facebook, but didn’t friend request him. I also found the biggest crush of my childhood, and we ARE friends on Facebook, but that’s not today’s challenge.”

Except now it IS today’s challenge. If you asked me to immediately name my childhood crush, my answer would be Chris Thiede. (Sorry Michael.) He’s the boy I fell in love with in 4th grade. Blonde hair, hazel eyes, goofy grin, and a gentle spirit. He was nice to me and I was glad he was my friend. He liked me too. He was the first boy I passed love notes to, and I remember he dressed as a pirate when he came to my house for a Halloween party. I remember which bus Chris rode to and from school and how he looked in his boy scout uniform. I remember the horror I felt when I accidentally hurt him in front of everybody on the playground, and the softness of his hands when he let me help him back to his feet. One of my favorite memories was the look of triumph he gave me when I won the spelling bee. When I first found him on Facebook, I was sure he wouldn’t remember me, but he did.

I’ve wondered many times why Chris sticks out so much when I think back on my childhood. I think it’s because I met him right after I woke up. There are almost two years of my childhood that are a complete blank. Trauma related. My memory picked back up when we moved to Random Lake and I remember a crazy amount of details from the two years we lived there. All of my friend’s names, what my soccer uniform looked like even though there are no pictures to prove it, what my best friend’s bedroom smelled like, everything. A few years ago I went back to visit the little town. I haven’t been there since I was a kid, but I knew where everything was, even destinations miles away from town. I drove straight to them. As I reread this before posting it, it’s obvious I had a crush on Random Lake too. Ha!

We moved back to LaCrosse right before 6th grade and I thought I was going to die of a broken heart. On my first day at Longfellow Middle School, they herded all of us 6th graders into the library. I was sitting at a table talking to my new insta-friends Koua Lo and Terri Rudolph, when a beautiful boy with brown hair and blue eyes walked through the door. I think my heart skipped a beat and I forgot to breathe, so I was doubly shocked when his twin walked in right behind him. Wow. Chris who? And that’s the day I started crushing hard on Brian Weaver. No matter who I dated through middle school and high school, Brian was always in the back of my mind. I wasn’t annoying about it most of the time, but my high school best friends can all attest to its constancy. Though I’m sure he knew, I never told him I liked him for two reasons. 1. He was WAY out of my league. 2. Even though he was always nice to me, his twin was a total ass and didn’t like me at all. Trust me when I tell you it’s possible to love one twin and hate the other – both with a fiery passion. I don’t know what happened to them after high school, but I can tell you Brian DID have competition.

From 1986 on, I was also in love with my birthday twin, Wil Wheaton. I first saw him in my favorite childhood movie, Stand By Me. He played Gordie Lachance, a writer and the story’s narrator. I was smitten! What? He’s cute and a geek like me!

WilWil and I were born on the same day, in the same year, in the same state, in hospitals just a couple of hours away from each other. I’ve written about him before because I love him in a non-stalkerish-he’s-a-celebrity-and-doesn’t-know-who-I-am sort of way. Celebrity crushes: Everyone has them. Wil Wheaton is mine. MINE. Kidding. Did you know he’s a blogger? Oh yes! He’s a blogger, writer, actor, husband, father, and more. I stop by his site from time to time.

There have been other crushes since then, but these four are the ones worth highlighting. And for the record, I didn’t have time to crush on Benny. Our relationship went from non-existent to unofficially engaged inside of a month. Twenty-three years later, I can confidently say we are the definition of whirlwind romance! ♥

My friend’s crush stories are shorter and even sweeter:

Don at donhillson.wordpress.com

Beckie at free2b2much.blogspot.com

Tracy at countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com

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I was whining to Benny about today’s post – how I can’t pick just one person as my best friend. That’s not how I live my life! He suggested I do a Weird Science thing and combine all of the best and most desired traits to make the perfect best friend. After I stopped laughing, I realized there’s a nugget of truth to that approach. I’m complex and so are my friends. There is no one person that meets all of my friend needs, not even Benny. I’m connected to different people for different reasons and circumstances, but there are some things all of my closest friends have in common: Mutual trust, loyalty, humor/silliness, and depth. With that as my criteria, allow me to introduce you to my best friends right now. (I stole their pictures from Facebook.)

I’ve already written about Benny, Lennie, and Tawnya, so I’m moving on.

ksKaren is my best friend in Denver. We met at church several years ago. I was actually friends with her husband first and he introduced us. Thanks John! She is my reading buddy, movie date, and we henna each other’s hair. She’s the one who went on vacation with me and Tawnya a few years ago. She is so unlike me in all the right ways. She’s Spock to my Kirk – more logical and level-headed where I tend to be more cocky and fly by the seat of my pants. She has two green thumbs (maybe more) while I joke about growing people, not plants. She does that too – grow people! She’s amazing! We share a birthday month, so we celebrate together as long as we can.

heatherHeather and I speak the same language. We both grew up in difficult situations but are overcomers and we’re thriving now. We are not only fluent in sarcasm and witty comebacks, we speak the same dialect! Ha! Before she moved to Texas, she was my movie buddy, and writing buddy, and pina colada buddy. I flew to San Antonio to see her twice this summer. I’m trying to convince her Colorado is her real home. We’d spend less time on the phone, and I have the mountains on my side, enticing her. 😉

don and matthewDon lives too far away! I can’t put a French number on speed dial, so I am especially grateful for Facebook Messenger which allows us to connect almost every day. He’s my partner-in-crime for these challenges we take on, and he’s a fellow geek/nerd. We both prefer Star Trek over Star Wars, go head to head on trivia games, and have a sort of brother/sister relationship. You know, because my five brothers don’t tease me enough. I wish he’d move back to Colorado, but I know that’s not happening anytime soon. I’ll enjoy his friendship from afar for now.

beckBeckie and I have known each other the longest since we met in college. She’s older, wiser, and funnier than me. We didn’t know each other well back then, but we sure do now! Beckie and I grew up in the same faith heritage and we’ve struggled with forging our own paths, which is a nice way of saying we own matching sets of baggage. She is a fellow homeschooling mom, we both have a Max under our roofs, and she might as well live near Don in France for as often as I see her. Still, I adore her. We talk about deep stuff – stuff that almost requires oxygen masks and reminders to breathe. Those chats are balanced out by bouts of silliness sisters might share. She’s like the older sister I never had.

cherieCherie is my best friend from church, and my dealer. She supplies me a good portion of the Chai I consume. 😉 She’s a fabulous lunch date! We have a regular booth at Chili’s where the server knows our appetizer and drink order by heart, and greets us by name. Cherie makes trips to American Furniture Warehouse seem like a day at the circus, and dreams about future projects with me as we treasure hunt at thrift stores between our houses. I love spending time with her, and not just because she spoils me.

RebeccaRebecca is my best friend from FACE, the private school for homeschooling families that meets once a week. Though we’ve both been there for years, she and I connected a few years ago when I taught a couponing class to the moms. I’m so glad our friendship has grown because Becca has such a sweet spirit and she’s hilarious! Her daughter is in my drama class and good friends with Max and Zoe. Becca spoils me too.

I noticed another common thread with all of these people. All of my best friends are introverts. How did that happen???

Want to read more? Check out my fellow challenger’s posts too!

Don at donhillson.wordpress.com

Beckie at free2b2much.blogspot.com

Tracy at countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com

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Me: Hi Dad! So…I’m doing a writing challenge this month and YOU are my topic for today. Is there anything you do or don’t want me to tell the world about you?

Dad: (Long pause) What is this for? Facebook?

Me: No, it’s for my blog. A couple of my friends and I have taken a writing challenge for our blogs this month. So…this will be public.

Dad: Do you have to interview me?

Me: Um…sure! I can do that! What do you want to be when you grow up?

Dad: (Laughter) I don’t know if you’re being serious or not. I’ve actually joked about that recently.

Me: Dad. This is very serious business. (Holding back a giggle) Let’s start with an easier one…What’s your favorite color?

Dad: Well, when I buy a car, I tend to go with blue, but I really like green, you know the color we painted our office? It’s also the color of money. (He laughs again)

Me: Good answer! I love green. It’s my favorite too. Okay…Tell me something fun on your bucket list.

Dad: Aruba. I’d like to vacation there sometime. I always thought that would be interesting.

Me: Well, I know you’ve traveled a lot, any chance that will become a reality?

Dad: I don’t know…maybe.

Me: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done so far on your travels?

Dad: Shari made me go parasailing with her. I didn’t want to go, but now I’m glad I did. We also really enjoyed snorkeling in the Bahamas.

We chatted for a bit longer about Max’s girlfriend and what I’ve written about so far with the challenge, then my friend Cherie showed up to surprise me with Chai (YAY!) so I had to wrap it up…

Me: Okay Dad, I’m going to write this post tonight and tomorrow I’ll send you a link to it…and a picture of Max’s girlfriend.

Dad: Can you use an alias?

Me: (Laughing) I think the title of the post will make the use of an alias a moot point. Okay, what would your alias be, Dad?

Dad: Uh…Elmer.

Me: Elmer???

Dad: I supposed Fudd would be too obvious.

Me: Hahaha yeah, probably.

Dad: Elmer Johnson, then.

Me: That sounds like a very Wisconsin-ish name. Okay, Elmer. I love you. I’ll chat with you soon!

He cracks me up! 🙂

Since I didn’t record the conversation, I may be slightly off in the details, but this was fun. I love my dad. He’s a funny man. I don’t get to see him very often, but I really enjoy our time together, and we do have our phone conversations to look forward to. He’s good to me and he’s a good grandpa to my kids. Then there is my wonderful stepmom, Shari. My dad has a treasure in that woman! She’s a spunky, fun grandma!

june 9 2015 346Every year or so when I venture back to Wisconsin, my dad throws a huge party for me. My siblings and their families, aunts, uncles, and cousins all come over for a family cookout and we eat northern food, talk about the Packers, and tease my dad about his pride and joy – his impeccable lawn. 😉 It’s one of my favorite things about “going home.” After these parties, I go to bed feeling like I’ll burst – not from the food, but from the overload of emotions. I feel wanted and accepted and loved. My dad does that for ME. Wow.

We got to spend Easter with them this year. It was the first time in ten years all of my kids were in Wisconsin at the same time, so we did the “Grandpa tour”. He showed them the houses he lived in and his old school, he took them to the skate park and watched them do their tricks on their skateboards, and he showed them his model train and let them run the controls. We also introduced them to the wonder that is blue moon ice cream, and I drove them all over the city on the “Mommy tour”. It was a great trip!

Isn’t he handsome? Every Father’s Day I pull this photo out and post it on Facebook. It’s an older one, but I love it. I didn’t grow up with my dad, but he’s been in my life since I was in college. I’ve known him much longer than I haven’t. I don’t tell him often enough, but I’m crazy about him! (Even if he needs a better alias. We’ll work on that.)

Check out these other Dad posts:

Don at donhillson.wordpress.com

Beckie at free2b2much.blogspot.com

Tracy at countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com

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I laugh A LOT. I am lucky to have so many people in my life that make me laugh, and though it took me years, I’m finally secure enough to laugh at myself.

Humor is a beautiful thing! It diffuses angry situations, soothes uncomfortable moments, and it redirects our seriousness when we’re feeling run down, overwhelmed, and annoyed. It lightens the mood and frees us to laugh at the silliness that is life. Laughter is contagious and healing.

I have a few friends who keep pace with me as we volley snark and wit. I share a secret Pinterest board with a friend where we post memes that are funny but not appropriate to share on Facebook lest we offend half our friends lists. I have another friend whose humor is subtle and never fails to make me chuckle. My youngest child is in the pun stage of pre-puberty and he’s clever and hilarious. He warrants his own hashtag on my Twitter and Instagram accounts – #crappetesays.

It was hard to choose just one person who makes me laugh, but I finally did it. The comedic genius…

Jim Gaffigan

He’s been my favorite comedian for years. I love his routines, stalk follow him on Twitter, and even have a Jim Gaffigan Pandora station. I’m a fan.

Why?

He’s likable and disarmingly relatable. He is self-deprecating but not in a sad way, and he reminds me there is humor to be found in the more mundane experiences of life.

He’s a family man. Marriage and parenting hold an endless supply of joke fodder. Kudos to his wife!

He’s a pretty clean comedian. Unlike my secret Pinterest board, I am able to recommend him to ALL of my friends without the caveat of telling them they might want to wait until their kids have left the room before listenin to him.

He’s funny. Obvious, right? If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t have chosen him as someone who makes me laugh!

Who makes you laugh?

Want to see who makes my fellow challengers laugh? Check out their posts:

donhillson.wordpress.com

free2b2much.blogspot.com

countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com

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Benny HeadshotAllow me to gush for a moment. Isn’t he handsome? This is the love of my life.

It was a cold day in January when we met on the campus of York College in York, Nebraska. I remember it clearly. He does not. Whatever. It wasn’t until a couple of months later when we were both cast in the school play that I really took notice of him. We were dating a month later, and unofficially engaged a month after that. Benny likes to tell people I proposed to him, but we all know that’s not true. After all, I had the entire York choir present when he popped the famous question. There are LOTS of juicy details to our story, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to skip ahead to the present day.

benny3In May we celebrated twenty-two years of marriage, y’all! I threw that “y’all” in there for his benefit, since he’s a Texan. Yes, that sweet, funny, polite, southern boy married me – a kind, fierce, opinionated, Yankee girl. Along the way we learned what love really means and we’ve been spreading it around as much as possible ever since. We made three cute babies, who are growing up nicely. People can’t decide if they look more like me or him. What do you think?

Benny and the kidsI’m okay with them looking like him. My bearded wonder is hot!

And funny. The kids got that from him too.

benny2For our 20th anniversary, I spent a month making a list of things I love about Benny. It’s a little long to share the whole thing, but here are a few of the highlights:

Benny is intentional. He still pursues me. He is kind. Friends and strangers alike are drawn to his kindness. He has a father’s heart. He carries in him the amazing ability to touch the hearts of the fatherless and those who need to hear how special and loved they are. Our kids aren’t the only ones who call him Popa.

Benny is romantic. When we can’t afford fresh flowers, he texts pictures of them to me. He flirts with me. Sometimes it’s even appropriate and suitable for the public.

Benny has big, strong hands. I feel safe when his fingers wrap around mine, or play with my hair, and when they rest on the small of my back when we’re standing in conversation with others. They’re the same hands that threw our children in the air then caught them when they were small, eliciting squeals of delight, and the hands that now wipe away tears after an injury. With the same gentleness in which he holds his family, his hands bring healing to our friends and those we encounter on the streets. His hands carry heavy loads for those who need help carrying things, and lull babies to sleep at church. Yes, I love his hands.

Benny is a dreamer and visionary. He’s the one who comes up with the plans and I help figure out how to make them work. We’re a good team. He’s bold and courageous, and a fiercely loyal friend. You want him in your corner because you can trust he’ll have your back.

Benny loves me even when I’m a pain in the ass, and he doesn’t make me go camping with him. That’s a marriage saver right there!

Benny Nowell is my no-brainer choice for the inaugural post of this challenge.

I love him the most.

benny5

Be sure to check out who my fellow challenger friends love the most:

Don at donhillson.wordpress.com

Beckie at free2b2much.blogspot.com

Tracy at countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com

It’s not too late to join us! Get the details here:

nikinowell.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/30-day-people-challenge/

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