Humorous thoughts on adulthood – thank goodness for chocolate, drinks, friends, and duck tape!

Shaun White, the Olympics, and “Can’t Nots”

Have you been watching the Olympics?  My husband swears I’m obsessed (which may not be completely inaccurate)!  I love the Olympics!  I mean, how can you not?

First of all, I love new TV.  No reruns on the Olympics.  Secondly, I love patriotism.  Yes, bring on the red, white, and blue!  Cheer USA, USA, USA!  Forget the crappy news.  There’s nothing like the human interest stories they bring from the US athletes, which brings me to 3 – I love human interest stories!  I mean did you catch that interview with Mikaela Shiffrin about kids hating her when she was excited for the coaches to pile on drills?  Yeah, that’s when you’re meant to win.  Fourth, I love watching people who devote their lives to being freaking fan-tab-u-lous at something and not giving up or backing down or quitting even though they’re broke.  I have a whole lotta respect for that. And finally, who doesn’t love to watch someone win?  If you don’t, you maybe need to work on that heart of yours.

But seriously, I love the Olympics!  I was talking to my dad about it and I had to laugh.  He was telling me he hadn’t watched much of the first part because the scoring was too subjective.  We both likened it to showing cattle.  It sucks that even the Olympics get political but political or not, I will watch Chloe Kim shred the half pipe.  And don’t even get me started on Shaun White!  I was so freaking excited for him.  It takes a pretty impressive guy to make 4 Olympic teams, have 2 golds, and come back for a 4th time after missing the medals last time around, let alone the fact that he got a gold in a young man’s sport at age 31.  Or what about that ice skater, Mira, who landed the first triple axel by an American in the Olympics?  Holy crap!  She was on fire.  And that Maame Biney, the speed skater – could she get any damn cuter?  I’m not an overly smiley person by nature, but she even makes me chipper.  But perhaps the greatest comment for me was Adam Rippon who said 6 years ago he was stealing apples from his gym because he was too broke to buy food while living in his coach’s basement and now he’s at the Olympics.  That, my friends, is what makes it special…

Life is not always clean and pretty, but it can be good.  There are days where I wonder if I’m on the right path, if I’ve made the right choices for my family, but I keep moving forward and I hope, dream, and pray.  Sometimes, I wonder if I’m too old to still be dreaming, but I can’t not.  And I kinda think that’s what it is for every athlete that goes to the Olympics – they can’t not…

So here’s to never growing too old to have those moments where you can’t not…

And here’s to cheering for those small town kids from the USA…

And here’s to being proud to be an American…

***

Do you have a favorite moment from the games you want to mention?  Or do you have a “can’t not” in your life you’d like to share?  Bring on the comments!

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Good-bye, January! Hello, News in a Small Town!

Oakland, Iowa

So January is over!  And although it’s a very rough month for a lot of people, I have to tell you that a lot of good things have been happening here in my neck of the woods (to quote Al Roker).  It’s crazy that so much can happen in one little month.

First off, Oakland has a new doctor!  I, unfortunately, know that because I was blessed with the flu and strep all in one week.  The fortunate portion of it was that they could actually get me in that day!  Yes, that’s right!  That means double the appointments they can make in a day!  That meant I also got to meet Dr. Guzman.  For the record, he seems like a very nice guy.  He listened and confirmed my self-diagnosis (lol) and got me on my way!  If you have the unfortunate pleasure, like I did, be sure to thank him for being here.  And a big shout-out to Dr. Pigneri, too, for looking out for Oakland and making sure we have a doctor’s office.  Again, we have a lot to be thankful for.

Secondly, corporate decided to keep Blimpie’s in Oakland!  Yay us!  Will we miss Mike and Teresa? Um, definitely! Understatement of a lifetime.  Do we wish them the best?  Definitely!  But due to their tenacity, we still have a sub shop.  Let’s make sure we keep it that way!

Third, rumor has it we have a new dentist in town (or a couple).  Yes, Dr. Lenaghan retired, but Omni Dental out of CB decided to pick up where he left off.  So no trip to Council Bluffs, you can get the misery over right here! 🙂 Again, yay us!

Fourth, if you haven’t liked the Impact Hill Facebook page yet, you should.  They are doing some incredibly fun stuff and it’s only just the beginning!  People, they have family game night coming up on the 9th and the father-daughter dance on the 23rd.  I think it’s super cute that not only are some dads taking their little girls, but even cuter that some adult girls are taking their dads!  How sweet is that?

Fifth, yes, there really is more!  If you were unaware, the library now has a website! There’s lots more new stuff coming our way, but stop by, check out a book or a DVD, and hear about it!

Sixth – I know.  Crazy, huh?  I hope you also head over to Facebook and like the Oakland, Iowa Chamber of Commerce page.  That’s going to be the new hub for big announcements and hopefully some really nice shout-outs to the people who keep businesses open in Oakland for all of us to use!

Seventh – wow, right?  Be sure to take a minute to thank Mr. and Mrs. McCowen for donating the new bulldog at Riverside.  Not only did they make it their life’s work to teach all of us, they are donating a gift in memory of their fabulous daughter.  You don’t just get that anywhere…

Finally, I went to 3 meetings last week.  I met some amazing people doing some amazing stuff for our town and for the Riverside community.  I don’t think I can fully express how impressive it is that so many people volunteer their time to make things better.  I know it’s easy to think the people in charge are pushy (which they have to be to get things done).  I know it’s easy to resist change (I’m the queen of it!).  I know it’s easy to think someone else has more time than you (they don’t, they just prioritize differently).  I know it’s sometimes easier to let someone else handle it (it is!).  I know it’s easier to complain than to make things happen, but I want to make things happen.  I am surrounded by good people and together, we can make more good happen.  If you don’t have time right now, that’s okay.  As I’m pretty sure it was my 4-H leader, Marge Piece, who used to say: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way!”  So lead if you can.  Follow if you’re willing or can fit it in.  Or just stay out of our way if you have nothing nice to say!

I will add an addendum onto that and say, “Or join us to be a part of it when you’re ready!”

***

Got other big news?  Let me know and I’ll be happy to share it.  Or head over to the Chamber page and give a shout-out to some good people around here!

Barrel on in, 2018! We’re ready for you!

2018…

A few of you had a good 2017.  More of you had a not-so-good, very bad, frustrating, craptastic year you’re ready to kick to the curb.  Either way, 2018 is upon us.

Some people have spent the year deep in the political realm where others fought natural disasters or family traumas or simply their own personal demons or even all of the above.  Life is never easy.

For me, it was the ying and yang of years.  It’s what I call a “transition” year.  We moved home which was what I wanted, but there was that whole part in there where I decided to do the Steve Harvey “jump.”  As Steve says, when you jump, there’s a time where you are waiting for the parachute to come out and it may be a little bumpy.  (Bumpy is his word.  Mine is more Metrodome-imploding-esque)  Yeah, I’m there.  Change and I are not big friends.  I left the consistency of a career I’d had for 20 years to venture into the unknown.  And the unknown is a new world of jobs, trying to find new friends to add, and navigating the world with a 2/3-year-old who knows no boundaries.  It’s been a harder struggle than I expected.  Surely not my usual, but here we are…

I had been craving a fresh start and 2018 when Christmas hit.  My usual preparations were not complete, and I was feeling a sense of failure that I should know not to put on myself, yet I do.  We ended up having an unexpectedly great Christmas.  I, especially, was given a little piece of happiness I didn’t know was missing.  My husband and I were opening presents while the wild one played with hers.  Yes, he knows how to give gifts!  But it wasn’t the expensive one that made me cry, it was the $5 one that did.  After all my doubts and worries and second-guessing if I made the right decisions for our family, my husband gave me a box with a journal in it that simply said “follow your dreams.”

At 43, I sometimes think it is frivolous to still want something bigger and to be such a dream-seeker, but at 43, I also can’t quit dreaming.  I believe everyone has a reason they were put on this earth.  Although I don’t fully think I’ve figured out my reason, I know it’s coming and that little gift was a reminder that I have someone who truly believes in me even when he questions my route (and Hell, even I question my route!).

I guess my message is that as 2018 approaches, take a little time to think the impossible and don’t be afraid to go after it, especially if your current has been a little more ugly duckling than Bret Michaels-rockstar.  It’s a new year – a new chance to get it right or at least less wrong or to find peace in what you have done or what you are about to do.  There’s a lot of good in this world, we just have to find it.  And here’s my wish for you:

 Watch! 

May 2018 be the year you live your life,that you love yourself, that you make the world better for those around you, and that you find that little piece of happiness you’ve been missing…

Happy New Year, my friends!

Spread love, not just words – Peace to the Riverside community

For those of you not from my hometown, two people were killed in a bus fire this morning.  I pondered whether to post or not about this topic, but deduced that perhaps it is in these times that people need someone else’s perspective and words to put a voice to their own.  So here are my thoughts…

First, there are always people who cast blame in these situations.  I get that, because part of the grieving process includes anger, and we live in a world where sometimes it’s easier to blame than look inward.  But this is not a situation where blame will do anyone any good… It won’t.  Unfortunately, it is too late for that.  We must now figure out how to avoid this happening ever again and we must take action, and by action, I don’t mean complaining to your neighbors or your family.  I mean fixing problems, standing up for injustices, putting good into the world – whatever it is that makes our homes, our community, and our world a better place.

Second, love, sympathy, and if you believe in prayers, prayers for all of those affected and all those who weren’t.  Yes, I said “weren’t.”  Everyone needs it.

I saw tons of prayers for Riverside posts on my Facebook feed, even from surrounding communities.  That’s why we live here.  But don’t lose sight of taking part in person.  We live lonely lives because we are afraid to reach out.  We are more comfortable on a computer.

I went to the elementary today.  You can’t know a teacher’s job till you’ve been one.  You can’t know the heartfelt thoughts of a child till you’ve heard your own say something that makes you cry.  You can’t know how it feels if you have not walked in the shoes of losing someone, but you can love instead of hate.  You can provide extra support for those that need it, or food to the families, or donations, or even your services to a school that is going to need direction.  Go to the sources.  Put your talents to task on helping in the way you can.  Don’t complain to your friends.  Go to those that can make a difference and make one.

Third, grieve.  Allow yourself to have those thoughts and process them.  I will be honest.  I knew that the kids on my street would have been riding that bus later in the route.  It caused me angst just having that thought.  I thought about my sister who fielded all those calls this morning and who loves every kid that walks in the doors.  I cried just watching people around me deal with what they have to deal with, but it reminded me that I have a burning desire to make things better.  I joined the Oakland Betterment Committee because I am going to do my part.  I know a lot of other people that do, too.  You can’t make a difference if you’re not in the game…

Fourth, life is all about choices and good decision-making.  When things like this happen, a lot of people are left feeling lost and asking “why?”  The “whys” don’t usually have answers.  But I have learned that when I am lost, the first place I start is by doing for others.  No, that’s not a goody-good statement.  It is a matter of self-preservation.  I feel best when I can do for others.  If you need to sit in a bathtub and soak, or sleep for an extra 6 hours, or hug your kids and take them to supper, do what you need to do.  But don’t judge others who choose differently.  And don’t take your anger out on others or push away a hand that reaches out.

Finally, life is hard.  That’s not going to change.  But what are they going to say at your funeral?  Whether it be painting rocks for the parks, buying pieces for shoeboxes for shelters, leading a 4-H club of future overachievers, being a coach or teacher or a bus driver, do what you can and don’t knock those that are doing what they can.  There’s an old quote that I think was Oscar Wilde who said, “Live your life so that when you go, even the undertaker will be sorry.”   

In times of tragedy, we must not cast stones, but well wishes.  As I always say:

Do right.

Do good.

Do yours…

Peace and love.

-ebc

In Heaven, there is No Beer, that’s why we…Live in Iowa! 5 gifts to give an Iowa Native!

Love Iowa

How ‘bout making it an Iowa Christmas?

You all know this was the magical (I use that term loosely) year we moved back home.  What better way to honor my great state than to tell you how you can make it an Iowa-kind-of-Christmas for your family, too!

Mag Me…

First off, if you know someone who lives in Iowa or is from Iowa that doesn’t get the Our Iowa magazine, well, it’s about time they did! Amazing pictures, great articles, and feel-good Iowa moments.

Bring on da butter cow…

Secondly, it’s never too early to think about the Iowa State Fair!  Yes, you can buy advance tickets, plus a ton of memorabilia from them, too!  Only 250 days till ISF!  They have a count-down.  True story.

Hand me a Samwitch, Joey…

Third, do you have those lovely, but annoyingly hard-to-buy-for-retired people in your life?  Get them gift cards to do the Tenderloin Trail and eat their way through Iowa!  Yum!

Natives Unite…

Fourth, sport a native Iowa t-shirt like me!  I love these shirts! They have them for women, men, and children!  We can be twinzies.

Go Team Go!

Finally, if someone has time on their hands, then they should be supporting the home teams!  Check out Iowa State, UNI, or even Iowa basketball, football, hockey, or volleyball games.  Nothing boring about catching a game in person!

I could actually add a ton to this list.  Might even do that next week, but for now – let’s just say we Iowegians, as they call us, gotta stick together!

Happy Holidays from Oakland, Iowa!

***

Thinking of purchasing one of these? Let me know.  A proud Iowan?  Tell me about it.

Put the Thanks in Thanksgiving…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is upon us.  Some of you are probably excited for the spread of down-home, good cooking.  Some of you are probably fretting over your to-do list.  Some of you are probably plotting your Black Friday strategies.  And some of you are thinking about how annoying your family is or whether you should even attend.

But here’s what I have to say:  I drove by the local bar today, and I was so very impressed with the idea that they are hosting a Thanksgiving Day potluck for those who don’t have a place to go.  I think that is truly a rockstar idea and the thoughtfulness of it is genuinely sweet.  Way to go, Tailgaters!  What a great situation for those that need it.  However, those of us who don’t, should maybe take a step back and appreciate we don’t need a place to go, that our assumed holiday plans are still intact.  It’s so easy to lose sight of that fact.

Let me go on record as saying, forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.  Yes, your Uncle Tom will say something hideous like you’re going to be an old maid.  Your mother will pick at the collar of your shirt and doubt your attire.  Your 3-year-old niece will scream at the top of her lungs over the Cool Whip.  Yes, you will be irritated, but they are your family.  Do you know who realizes how important family is? Those who don’t have one.  When you are in the thick of it, it’s hard to remember you are blessed with the crazy, the nosy, the difficult, the show-off, the once-a-year-glory-hound, the obnoxious, and the jokester, but you are.

The world is not an easy place, but it can be a good place.  When we quit finding faults with those that surround us and start loving them for what they do have to offer, we all win.  I won’t say that’s an easy task when you’ve been burned, and I won’t say everyone makes it easy, but Thanksgiving is about being thankful.  Be thankful this Thursday… even when the toddler spills your wine.  Because there’s always a silver lining: Walgreens will be open and it’s at least a 15-minute drive away from the clamor of the annual family flag football competition.  See – always a solution!

Happy Turkey Day, America!

Holy Thanksgiving’s-Next-Week, Batman, and so is the Singaloo!

Christmas Singaloo – check out the flyer!

Are you wondering how in the world Thanksgiving could possibly be next week?  Yeah, me, too!  And you know what else that means is next week?  The Christmas Singaloo in Oakland!  And, yes, I expect you to be there!

Of course, the “there” has changed.  Our new venue location is Main Street!  Yes, we switched it up from the park so we would have restroom facilities.  Kind of an important little detail! Especially if you have your flask with you! Lol.

But seriously, you need to be there!  Yes, it’s going to be cold.  It’s Iowa.  It’s November, and it’s night-time.  But that’s what you have winter clothes and blankets and thermoses for!

And it will be worth it!  Like I said before – grab your bag chair, your lawn chair, or your recliner for all I care and park it on Main Street.  You provide your chair.  We’ll provide the entertainment!

We’ve got Santa lined up with glow sticks and candy canes.  We’ve got pizza, fudge, cookies, and hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps you can buy.  And we’ve got great singers who fully intend on making your night a fun one!  And when I say I have singers, I have singers!  I have the Grist Mill singers coming.  I have Jackie Akers singing!  I have Isabelle Kudron and Adrienne Suglia!  I have Veva Larson!  And we have a few surprises up our sleeves, too!

Plus, by Saturday night, who isn’t sick of each other and needing a little entertainment?  You can always catch a Hallmark movie on Sunday instead! Lol.

Come have some fun!  Come support our town!  Come enjoy the sounds of the holidays!  Come – well, because I’m asking you to!

See you there!