Life is an adventure.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I have a confession to make, I am addicted to reality TV. I know, big shocker, so is the rest of the world. My addiction to The Biggest Loser hit an all time low when I found out Kristin Steede from season seven lived in my town. When I found out she lived one block away from my closest friend I did what any (not so) rational person would do, I stalked her. I stalked her Facebook, her Twitter, her blog, I drove by her house and I told everyone I knew where Kristin Steede lived. It got so bad my six year old knew when I was doing a drive by and would say, "There's the biggest loser house." I even almost ran her over while hitting the Panera drive-thru. For the record, this was an accidental meeting. I didn't follow her to Panera nor did I plan to run her over. Like most things in my life, my obsession didn't last long. Lucky for her I've lost interest.

My addiction, obsession, infatuation, call it what you will, has turned to a first-rate show on the History channel called American Pickers. Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz drive all over the country looking for treasure in other people's trash. They drive around looking for houses with junk in the yards, broken down cars in the driveway and anything rusty that looks like it might be worth some cash. I absolutely love it!

The guys and their shop, Antique Archeology, are located in LeClaire, IA which is only 20 minutes down the river from where I grew up. We were back home the second week of July and I knew I had to get to the shop and meet these guys. I called them, I left messages, I sent Tweets, I sent emails...ARE YOU IN TOWN? I NEED TO COME TO YOUR SHOP AND SEE YOU. WHY WON'T YOU TALK TO ME??!?? I got no response. (I'm pathetic, I know this, you don't need to tell me.) When Mike Wolfe posted on his Twitter he was going to the shop early I loaded up my kids and my dad and we headed to LeClaire.

We watch the show as a family, so my kids were just as excited as I was to be standing outside the shop. I found these really cool wire baskets that looked like they came from an old swimming pool locker room. The chick at the cash register said they weren't for sale, but I haggled with Mike Wolfe and got one for $20. I even managed to snag an autograph.

I was so excited to be there and to be meeting these people we watch on TV I think I checked my brains at the door. I had a conversation with Danielle, one of the girls on the show, and sounded like a complete idiot. I babbled on and on about how much we love the show and my grandma collects antiques and blah, blah, blah. She very graciously nodded her head like she was interested. I think I saw her throw me an eye roll or two.

I finally got up the nerve to ask Mike to pose for a picture with me and ofcourse he said yes. I gave the camera to my dad and while I was telling him how to use the camera he snapped this picture. The look on my face pretty much sums up how big of an idiot I felt like the entire time.

Make sure to set your DVRs because Mike said my baskets will be in an upcoming American Pickers. Very cool!

Monday, April 12, 2010


Nostalgia - The term nostalgia describes a yearning for the past, often in idealized form. The word is a Greek compound consisting of words meaning "returning home" and "ache" or "pain". It was described as a medical condition in the Early Modern Period.

I've been dealing with this nostalgia feeling for, well, 20 years I suppose. Recently, though, it's gotten worse. As my children grow and I feel less and less connected to the place where I grew up I find myself remembering things I'd long thought I'd forgotten. I suppose a lot of it has to do with Facebook. As crazy as it sounds, Facebook has catapulted me back to my Catholic school years and my time spent growing up in Illinois. We go back to my hometown on a fairly regular basis, my father and grandmother still live there as well as my husband's children.

On a recent visit, I made it a special point to visit with two of my oldest and dearest friends from my early years. They have remained close friends with each other over the past 20 years. One of my friends even married a guy I introduced her to several years ago. Reconnecting seemed easy, like no time had even passed. We spent several hours over a two day span laughing, telling stories and remembering our innocence from that time in our life. Several names were mentioned that I had forgotten, but I seemed to be the one with all the stories still locked up in my head. We're already counting down the days until our next visit in May. As much as I'd hoped that we could pick up right where we left off and be best of friends again, I know our lives our different and our closeness is something of the past. Luckily, no amount of time or space will ever separate me from the memories of those dear friends. Each day I find a new one lurking around the corner of my mind...and I smile when I recall the fun times we had.

I made it a point to stop into one local establishment that has held a close place in my heart for over 20 years. Downtown is a little soda/chocolate shop that's been in business for over 100 years. Lagomarcino's. Just the name brings the taste of chocolate to my mouth. Our visit was the weekend prior to Easter, so I convinced my husband to take us to the chocolate shop to buy Easter bunnies for the kids. SOLID Easter bunnies!

Once you squeeze past all the delicious candy you find a few rows of old, wooden booths to sit and enjoy your ice cream or lunch in. The moment I saw the row of benches I was reminded of the time my mom took me for lunch here. My jr. high was right down the street and one day our parents were allowed to pick us up and take us out for lunch. My mom brought me here. We both ordered grilled cheese sandwiches. It's a memory that I will never forget. My mom passed away a year or so later. I asked the cashier if they still made grilled cheese sandwiches. She said yes with a huge smile on her face. Next time we're in town I'll be taking Hannah for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Rows and rows and rows of lovely candy filled the glass cases along the entrance of the store. I had forgotten how small the entry way was. When I asked if they minded if I take pictures the lady said, "Nope, lots of people come in just to take pictures." I managed to sneak in between the many patrons crammed into the tiny entrance and snap a few photos of the yummy goodness!

I think every fixture in the store is original or close to original. Nothing had changed from what I could tell. Before we left I closed my eyes and tried to imagine me and my mom sitting in our own booth, me with my Catholic school girl skirt and sweater, her in one of her pairs of navy slacks and plaid shirts. I wish I could remember our conversation that day, but sadly I do not. I cannot wait to take my own daughter back and make some memories of our own.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Sometimes I just feel stuck. So I stick my nose in a book and forget to remove it. Or I allow my fingers to dance across the keyboard as the time tick, tick, ticks away. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll stick the buds in my ears, turn the volume up and get lost. Is being lost better than being stuck? Hmm, I wonder...

I have two library books that are overdue by a month and a half. Will I need to take out a second mortgage on my house to pay the late fee? Maybe the Redbox movies will get returned on time. Only five hours until one dollar becomes two. Procrastination is my middle name.

This guy I knew told me that he thought overcooked, crumbled beef reminded him of rat turds. Now every time I cook hamburger it reminds me of him...and rat turds. Tonight I'm cooking sausage.

I spend a lot of time in my head. The well beaten path in my subconscious always takes be back to a long, lost memory. I was five, I was twenty, the first time I got married...It seems like I spend more time in the past than in the present. Now I have a chance to go back and I only want to move ahead. Is it too late to try and forget I tried to go back?

My favorite teacher in school was my seventh grade homeroom teacher. We called her Mrs. Papa. She was the tall, Greek woman with short brown hair. She is the one who convinced me I like to write. I recently tried to look her up on Facebook but can't remember how to spell her last name. I wonder if there is a website with Catholic school alum teachers? Maybe I'll Google it.