Friday, May 12, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

So my kid is basically the best. She inspires me all the time, but this morning, she inspired me specifically to write a post about how soulful she is.

I started an email account for Olivia when she was a baby, with the intention of sending her little love notes, funny memories, pictures, and words of encouragement that can resonate with her whether she is 8 or 18. My plan is to share the password to this account with her when she becomes a young adult.

It will be like a treasure chest full of bounty to be discovered. It will let her know that all those times, I appeared was too busy (working, cooking, cleaning, single-parenting) she was always a motivation. It might alleviate some of the parental guilt I have about not being “present” enough.

So often at night, after begging her to quit tossing, lay down, and go the fuck to sleep, it is after she finally drifts off, and I have the time to catch my breath, wind down, and finish all the tasks from my to-do list that eluded me throughout the day that I experience an overwhelming urge to wake her up and say NOW.  I’m ready to play now. I’m ready to pay attention now. I’m ready to listen, really listen now (one of my favorite scenes from the movie Away We Go is when Verona makes Burt promise to really listen to their child ). 

I'm rambling– back to the email account. 

I really am writing this blog entry to share with you (and one day with her) a little moment that become a big moment for me last night.

Liv’s dad dropped her off and she said she had a surprise for me. Actually, what she really said was “Ms. Kleis said not to give this to you until Sunday (Mother’s Day), but I knew you’d check and empty my backpack after school so I’m giving it to you now.”

 1) This made me sort of sad that there is not another parental figure here to help her mount these types of unveiling on days when she is told she is “supposed” to.
2) It made me feel great that she knows I take an interest in what she spends her school days doing - that, I do, in fact read the 500 pages of communication the school seems to send home daily in that backpack.

Olivia then presented me with a book about the many “hats I wear as a mom” where she filled in her answers to some prompts. Two of my favorites are pictured below:

"My mom is a chef. She makes the best ever >>>  mettballs." 
I think it is hilarious that she wrote mettballs as if I make these from scratch. They are the precooked kind that you throw in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. She also was kind enough to add that I make good "bagels" too. (I need that crying/laughing emoji here). 

"My mom is a coach. She encourages me to  >>> be beav." 
To be fair, I stole this from the show tune "I Whistle A Happy Tune" from the The King and I. I constantly tell Liv "You may be as brave as you make believe you are" (or something close to that).

She then presented me with a flower pot she decorated with twelve flowers (strips of construction paper folded to look like buds) tucked inside. As I unwrapped each bud, I saw that she had written a special message on them (I love reading kid’s spelling of words – extra points for you if you can translate some of these):  “Thak you for helping when I was sick.” “I  love you becuse you are bettyful.” “I love you because youre funny.” “I loved It when we did siseininspeerment“. “I like it when you giggl.” “My favorite thig about you is you always thir.”

Lessons learned here: I need to giggle more and do more science experiments with her.

I started tearing up and she looked up at me – so seriously and said – “ahhhh, Mom,” reaching out to put her hand on mine. She continued, “On some of them I got so carried away with writing nice things about you that I wrote on the back too, even though we weren’t supposed to - so then I had to erase them.”

I mean, best kid ever right?!

Maybe the moment for me was so big because in her own sweet way she did for me what I hope the secret email account does for her – serve as a reminder that we matter, that we are appreciated, that we are loved, and that even our quirks hold value to the people who know us the best.  

Saturday, April 29, 2017

I'm back...and wondering if I even remember how to use this blog...we shall see...

So I am watching "Heathers" for the first time, and 15 minutes in I have so many thoughts (I apologize in advance for my overuse of exclamation points, ellipses, and's a problem, I know)...
  •  I sort of miss Beverly Hills 90210 - where is Shannen Doherty, and was she really the b she was made out to be (I actually don't even remember why people thought this about her, but I definitely remember her not being well-liked)? And who knew her name was spelled with an "en". I wonder if she also resented never being able to find key chains with her name spelled "correctly" at Spencer's Gifts? Mom, no worries, I now appreciate that you used a "K" instead of the more conventional "Ch." I feel more important when I get to smugly say, "Kristina, with a K."
  • what is up with Winona Ryder's head in the grass in the opening scene - that is just weird!
  • the use of three main characters with the same name is absurd and I kinda love it
  • those shoulder pads! omg am I so glad those never came back in style, although I do wish the following things would make a comeback
  • "yeah, but they seem to have an open door policy for assholes" - classic one-liner! I can't wait to use this! 
  • "you don't deserve my fucking speech" - all I'm picturing during this line is a microphone drop
  •  new favorite rebuttal: "Lick it up, baby. Lick. It. Up."
  • naked Croquet - add it to the bucket list. 
  • OMG - are they poisoning someone with cleaner? - this is fucking disturbing - this is not the feel good break up movie as promised by BuzzFeed 
  • Jesus Christ - that righteous dude (I was smirking a little here) and the funeral confessions seemed uncomfortably likely
Ok, so right after the first funeral scene I took a break, and now after having finished the movie I am super disturbed and hate that I was so flippant in my review above. I didn't realize this movie was all about teen suicide and psychopaths...I HATE this movie (and I rarely use all caps - in fact, I rarely use any caps when I'm typing). While some of J.D.'s lines such as "People will look at the ashes of Westerburg and say, 'Now there's a school that self-destructed, not because society didn't care, but because the school was society,'" or "now that you're dead what are you gonna do with your life" were articulate, and caused me to think deeply about the subject matter at hand, I'm still horrified by this flick. Perhaps, I just am not a fan of the dark comedy in general. Dark - yes. Laughing at the dark - not so much. I'm curious if I'm the only hater out there for what is considered, I think, a classic 80's film?! Is it? Am I?

Thursday, December 31, 2015

And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good...

So did I prove perfect in meeting all my new year's resolutions that I blogged about last year - I sure as shit didn't. Did I make more progress than I did the year before in meeting the goals I set for myself for the new year - I sure as shit did! In fact, my completion percentage increased from 33% to 60% and I have to say that of the resolutions I did complete I fuckin did them with gusto! Take a peak to see what I mean.

Here was my list from last year with notes about my progress or lack thereof:

1. Complete the 2015 Reading Challenge 
To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. ~W. Somerset Maugham   

Did I read all 50 books: no - but I did manage to read 18 and that's better than none. 
Some of my favorite books included Big Little Lies and Steal like an Artist.

2. Find a new place to call home and simplify  
Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~William Morris

3. Master two Yoga inversions
Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. ~Bhagavad Gita

I did have crow and a headstand mastered - not sure if I still do, but I'm going with yes here. 

4. Visit a new city
Wanderlust: a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world, to discover one's very existence 

I hit up a few all of which I fell in love with for different reasons.
Vail, CO
Boulder, CO
Denver, CO

 Nashville, TN

5. Finish Destinos series (aka learn to speak Spanish) 
Anything can happen child. Anything can be. ~ Shel Silverstein 

I kind of just failed here.

6. Listen more - talk less 
Be curious, not judgmental. ~Walt Whitman

Potentially here too. 

7. Complete the Color Run 
When was the last time you did something for the first time? 


I also ran 8 miles this week - something I NEVER thought I could do. Rock on! 

8. Get my (re)imaginings pilot off the ground 
She lets her imagination run away with her. 

I think it was a success!
9. Three hours of not looking at my phone a day  
And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling. ~Shani


10. 1 hour of uninterrupted Olivia time a day
Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing. 

I struggle with finding enough time, but we do read together every night, have really cut down on tv, and I've made an effort to 'play' more. 

11. Find more serenity.  
She is clothed with strength & dignity and laughs without fear of the future. ~Proverbs 31.25

Some days.

12. Register for a class for my Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies Certificate
Respond to every call that excites your spirit. ~ Rumi

My first course is behind me! And I'm registered for the next course in the series for Spring. 

13. Take Liv to the 2015 International Children's Festival 
"Our lives are connected by 1000 invisible threads -  along those sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes & return to us as results" ~Melville 

That's a check! 



14. Host a gratitude dinner
Be with those who help your being. ~ Rumi

Still plan on doing this!!!!

15. Take Olivia to Pride parade
It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.  ~ L.R Knost

Not only did we go, we worked the Children's tent


So all in all, in spite of some heartache and some huge mistakes I still feel super blessed looking back on my 2015 highlight real. 

What's up for next year: 
1) More getting to know myself
2) More exploring
3) More love

Normally, my OCD would require I list a bunch of specifics (ya know - names, dates, timelines) for my resolutions, but I'm going rogue this year! 



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hi ya'll from Nashville!

Soooo we just returned from Nashville and I already miss it.

Day 1, Saturday: Trip started out great - plane on time, smooth flight, quick ride to the hotel, and a biscuit and gravy breakfast. After eating, we headed to the pool to soak up the sun. I was expecting a few families to be hanging out, but instead I saw a packed pool reminiscent of what I experienced back in college during Spring Break. I was suddenly super grateful I took the time to actually shave my legs and had kept up with my running routine :) I did find it rather ironic that directly in front of this sign:

was a security officer basically handing out drinking cups and surrounded by liquor to bring to the pool area:

Later in the afternoon we walked downtown passing so many gorgeous churches. I rocked my new mint shorts which I'm currently obsessing over. I see another shopping trip in my future to purchase all of the other colors in stock.

We ended up eating at a place called Paradise Park per the recommendation of our shuttle driver. The patty melt was A-mazing!!!! So much so, that we ended up there on our last day to eat before heading back to the airport.

Broadway was full of these pedal taverns, but having to pedal to drink just seems to defeat the purpose to me ;)

It was also on Day 1 that we met Geoffrey the giraffe who I am pretty sure probably has some type of herpes judging by all the randoms kissing him on the street. I am sorry to report that later in the evening, Geoffrey suffered a broken neck and had to be bandaged up. Somewhere in the evening two similar wooden giraffes appeared to join his posse.

We tried out the famous hot chicken from Hattie B's. Ash hated it, so I ate her's and mine. We ended the night at various honky tonks drinking and dancing, but sadly couldn't stay up past 10 (although I'm blaming our early departure time for at least part of this).

Day 2, Sunday: We did lots of pool-side lounging today. Lot less crowded today, but we did basically meet and befriend the whole Boston police force.

We did manage to venture away from the pool for a few minutes to walk to the convenient store where we passed these amazing magnolia trees.

I mean look at the size of those blooms! They were incredible.

After dinner at Whiskey Kitchen, I went in search of a Sports Bar to watch the Cav's Game. #allin. With two minutes left in the game and the Cavs up by I think ten, I made the dire mistake of predicting a win on FB, which of course then led to us quickly losing our lead which subsequently led to friends on my social media sites leaving such heartfelt messages as "you are dead to me" and "if they lose I'm holding you personally accountable." Thank God, CLE managed to still pull off a W ;)

After the sports bar, it was back to Tootsie's where Ash made a new Swedish BFF and I was excited to see some Cleveland love on the wall.

On the way home I found this gem :) I was sad to see it so haphazardly discarded and now I wish I would have saved it and put it to use somewhere/somehow.

Day 3, Monday: In the morning we went to the Barista Parlor in The Gulch which was damn near impossible to find due to construction. Although, then finding it seemed like that much more of a treasure. We ordered one bourbon vanilla latte and a caramel whiskey latte. I wish I had captured a picture of the look of sheer concentration on our barista's face as he prepared our drinks. Once they were delivered I instantly understood how creating coffee could demand such effort:

We had to do lots of sipping so we didn't spill this beautiful cup of joe. In spite of a late night on the town, Ash and I ran our normal three miles around the city. And it was hot, super hot. Hard run, but so glad we did it once we did. The number one thing I wanted to do in Nashville was to attend an open mic night at the iconic Blue Bird Cafe, but it is a small venue and they seat on a first come first serve basis so we had plans to get there a good hour and a half early. The weather had been so perfect that we thought standing in line for an a few hours to ensure seats didn't seem like a huge deal.

Here's a pic we took on our way out the door:

And then it rained. And by rained I mean it was like a monsoon.

The restaurant that we were eating at offered us garbage bags which we graciously took and we hopped in an Uber (my new favorite thing) to head to the cafe. Unfortunately, after the Uber dropped us off and drove away security at the Blue Bird said we were not allowed to be on the parking lot premises until 10 to 5 (doors opened at 5:30). To top things off they wouldn't take our names to show we were first in line. WTF?!?! Who says it is first come first serve and then doesn't let you stand in line or take names!? We did meet an awesome family from the UK who was equally annoyed. I introduced them to the store Tuesday Morning where we all bought umbrellas which classed Ash and I up just a bit as we were able to shed the trash bags. Finally we were "allowed" to line up in the blue bird parking lot and enter after the 25 performers and their plus ones. I seriously feel like there were like ten seats left for guests. In spite of being initially annoyed I was blown away after actually experiencing the venue.

All I have to say is WOW - so worth the wait and the highlight of my trip. I thought it was so cool to see all types of people performing all types of original songs - songs of love, loss, dogs, and designated drivers. Two of my faves from the evening:

Frank Hurd Band: Light

Ashley Fleener: Black Magic
We followed the Blue Bird up with a trip to Printer's Alley at the Blues Boogie Bar (and on the way I met a pet pig).

Great time. Great city. Great music. Great food. Great People. And a great welcome back to one of my other favorite cities. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Yay! We got the 'Belle' House!

So if anyone actually reads this thing you will see that I posted awhile back pictures of some of the houses I liked, but didn't end up buying for one reason or another. Well....I changed my mind and decided to roll the dice on one - it is old, really old but it is so charming and I fell in love with all the carriage style windows and french doors and...hello...anyone who knows me knows I drool over white kitchens. The lms description which described this house as "reminiscent of Shaker Heights architecture" may have had something to do with my change of heart as well. My family, and brother-in-law in particular, kept teasing me for trying to find a Shaker or Cleveland Heights style home in Mentor - but I did it :) When Ashley +Ashley Keene started referring to it as "The Belle House" because we thought it looked exactly like what Belle from Beauty in the Beast would live in (minus provincial town; substitute busy suburb) it was pretty much a done deal. Shannon and Greg got in my head saying just how much they could see me making the house my home and pointing out the various bohemian touches throughtout. The tipping point for me was when my friend +Lisa Dionisi Whitehead resent this listing to me with a message saying "I found the perfect house for you" having not known I had already looked at it and actually rejected it for various "more practical" reasons.

So here it is followed by some of my dreams for what it will eventually become:

So eventually I want to re-add decking onto the flat roof over the garage. Picture this:

Here is the kitchen now:
And when I'm done with it:
Add even more white and some aqua accents

And here is the dining room now:
I want to pull the aqua from kitchen by wall papering above the chair rail (see my vision below) and wainscoting under:
And the one thing I actually hate about the house is the big wall mirror in the living room:
+Ashley Keene and Scott are redoing it for my housewarming gift! Yay! So grateful! We are thinking something like the below:

I love white brick too

So pumped and so excited to blog out the process. To all of you who listened to me bitch, watched me cry, and witnessed me break down into complete melodramatics along the way (you know who you are) thank you for standing by me and stay tuned for one kick-ass gratitude dinner party honoring all of you!

Pic below has since been updated - 27 days till we get the keys and I get my pup back!  Woot! Woot!